Surprising Results from the Use of Whiteboards in Hospitals


The Journal of Hospital Medicine’s, “Patient Whiteboards as a Communication Tool in the Hospital Setting: A Survey of Practices and Recommendations” is a very interesting study for anyone working or interested in the medical field. Communication is important in every field, but especially crucial in the medical field and that’s why I thought it was a significant study to share.

The survey was conducted medical staff from the University of California hospital in San Francisco to identify the impact of whiteboards as a communication tool.

Summarized results included:

  • Nurses were more likely to use the whiteboards for “goal of the day” or “anticipated discharge date” information
  • Hospital operations believed that nurses and physicians should team up to create “goals of the day,” however, nurses should be responsible for the information on the whiteboard
  • Family contact information was the most important information to put on a whiteboard
  • All of the respondents believed that the use of whiteboards could improve teamwork, communication and patient care 

Recommendations from survey conductors:

  • Whiteboards should be put near a patient’s bedside
  • Create whiteboard templates
  • Nurses should write on and update whiteboards as needed

To learn more about the survey and results, visit view the variety of hospital whiteboards available through Magnatag Visible Systems, visit

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Victoria Burns

Victoria Burns is a Rochester, NY native and joined the Magnatag Visible Systems team right out of college. She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Journalism. With extensive knowledge in Magnatag Visible Systems’ history, she knows the ins and outs of scheduling, communication, productivity, information display problems. Burns has an invested interest in journalism and has been the editor of Magnatag Insight ( for two years. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends.

2 thoughts on “Surprising Results from the Use of Whiteboards in Hospitals”

  1. I am not a staff at the hospital. I have nursing students for clinical in one critical care unit and med/surg unit. Both areas are equipped with white communication boards with some variations in use. My observations are nurses in one med/surg area include pain assessment with last time pain medication administered and when the next dose is due. In addition, the white communication boards are utilized more in the one med/surg unit compared to the critical care unit I usually have students.

    1. Thank you for sharing what you use the whiteboards for! I’m so glad you’re getting such good use from them!

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