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Physician Perception of Hospitalists: How Doctors See the Hospitalist Role

Despite being on the medical scene for 20 years now, Hospitalists are still considered by many as new kids on the block. The hospitalist role is specialized and increasingly relied upon in today's medical environment and that is changing attitudes about the profession and how medical colleagues view their contributions.

Physician Perception of Hospitalists: How Doctors See the Hospitalist Role

Overall Perception of Hospitalists by Doctors

The Hospitalist role is favorably viewed by colleagues in today's healthcare systems. Over half of their colleagues endorsed favorable communication between themselves and Hospitalists while also reporting that the specialty is a positive discipline(1).

51% of Internists surveyed reported that Hospitalist Systems could provide patients with better care(2). Nearly half had the perception of hospitalists providing patients with a cost effective level of care(2). When it comes to Physician views of patient satisfaction levels while under a Hospitalists' care, feelings are mixed. Increased exposure to the hospitalist role both in the community and personally were found to increase the likelihood of favorable Physician views(3).

Physician Communication Preferences with Hospitalists

Continuity of Care is an essential component that creates an effective patient care team. Breakdowns in care continuity are detrimental and are a frequent concern when it comes to Hospitalist Care. 73% of Internists surveyed believed that the Hospitalist role causes reduced care continuity(2). Only 33% of PCP's report having consistent receipt of discharge summaries for their patients by the time they came in for follow up visits(1). This communication gap reflects how most health systems rely on indirect communication methods that are frequently ineffective. A survey of over 1,000 Family Physicians found that the majority preferred to communicate via telephone with Hospitalists both at discharge and during admission(1). This direct communication method provides an effective way to decrease the possibility of medical errors while increasing satisfaction between Hospitalists and their colleagues.

What is Most Important in Hospitalist-Physician Relationships

An overwhelming majority of Family Physicians identified 2 important factors when it came to the Hospitalist communication. Over 90% viewed the discharge diagnosis and discharge medications as the most important components related to patient handoff communication(1). This lends insight into how simple changes in communication can lead to lasting improvements in Hospitalist-Physician relationships and the perception of hospitalists in a healthcare environment.

1. Pantilat SZ et al. Primary care physician attitudes regarding communication with hospitalists. Am J Med. 2001 Dec 21;111(9B):15S-20S. 2. Auerbach,D et al. (2001). Physician attitudes toward and prevalence of the hospitalist model of care: Results of a national survey. The American journal of medicine. 109. 648-53. 10.1016/S0002-9343(00)00597-0. 3. Walker, L et al. Attitudes of Family Physicians Regarding the Use of Hospitalists for In-patient Care: A Pilot Study

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