Information Primary Care Physicians Want to Receive about Their Hospitalized Patients.

Smith KJ, Clark S, Kapoor W, Handler SM. Information Primary Care Physicians Want to Receive about Their Hospitalized Patients.  Family Medicine. 2012; 44(6):425-30. PMID: 22733420  PMCID:PMC In progress.


Communication between physicians caring for hospitalized patients and those patients' primary care providers (PCPs) is often suboptimal, which can lead to diminished health care quality and safety. It is unclear what hospital information PCPs would find most valuable in their patients' continuing care, as is how and when they would prefer to receive such information.


Using the modified Delphi survey methodology, we developed a consensus list of information items PCPs want to receive about their hospitalized patients, using general internists and family physicians considered experts in primary care. Panelists rated items on a 5-point Likert scale signifying their level of agreement with the information's importance and with the information communication mode. Consensus agreement or disagreement was determined using 95% confidence intervals.


Twelve physicians (five family physicians, seven general internists), averaging 19.6 years of primary care experience, participated in Delphi round 1; 41.6% (37 of 89) of the items were accepted by consensus, one item was rejected (receiving daily progress notes), and the remaining 51 items were equivocal. In round 2, nine physician panelists participated (four family physicians, five general internists), and six additional items were accepted. They generally preferred notification at the patient's first hospital interaction and at discharge. No consensus was found regarding communication mode; e-mail was most favored.


We found broad areas of consensus regarding information PCPs wish to receive about their hospitalized patients that are generally consistent with previous surveys. Our findings also suggest that physicians are becoming more comfortable with patient-related electronic communications.

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