OBJECTIVE: To assess the status of medical grand rounds (MGR) as an educational endeavor. METHODS: A survey of 133 departments of medicine at US medical schools was performed from September 2003 to March 2004; the results were compared with those of a previous (1988) survey. RESULTS: Ninety-nine departments (74%) responded to the survey; all 99 conducted MGR. Providing updates in diagnosis, treatment, and medical research, educating house staff and faculty, and promoting collegiality were the most important objectives of MGR. Regarding objectives, responses to the current survey differed significantly from the responses to the 1988 survey for providing updates in medical research (P=.047), providing continuing medical education credit (P<.001), educating house staff (P=.043), and educating faculty (P<.001); the differences were primarily due to higher proportions of current survey respondents rating these objectives as "quite" or "very" important. The most common format was the didactic lecture. Case presentations were uncommonly used, and patients were rarely present. Only 44% of departments used educational needs assessments, and only 13% assessed knowledge gained by attendees. Feedback was irregularly provided to presenters. Most departments (64%) relied on industry to pay for MGR. lack of presenter-attendee interaction and conflicting meetings were cited as important challenges. Nevertheless, most (62%) of the current survey respondents thought the quality of MGR had increased. CONCLUSIONS: Departments of medicine regard MGR as an important educational and social endeavor. However, most departments use suboptimal teaching, planning, and evaluation methods, and many rely on industry to pay for MGR. Addressing these concerns and other challenges may enhance the value of MGR.
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