Set clear expectations between hospitalists and referring providers

At minimum, a referring provider expects the hospitalist to provide notification on admission of his or her patient to the hospital, updates that include any acute changes in patient status, and notification of patient discharge. Daily correspondence by voicemail, fax, e-mail, or other means (e.g., transmission of electronic record) is a best practice. Timely delivery of the patient’s history and physical, discharge summary, and pertinent laboratory results/studies is essential to providing optimal patient care.

In return, referring providers should ensure that the hospitalist receives valuable patient data, including the following:

  • Information about the patient’s current problem
  • The patient’s medication and allergy list
  • Pertinent clinical and laboratory studies
  • The patient’s do-not-resuscitate status
  • Next-of-kin information
  • Past medical history

The referring provider should also share with the hospitalist any other information thought to be useful, such as a patient’s psychosocial issues, family dynamics, and suggestions for how to aggressively treat or work up a patient. Finally, he or she should be available for consultation with the hospitalist in case of unforeseen issues.