Transforming Healthcare

A primary care physician's ideal transitions of care—where's the evidence?

Abstract

Reducing hospital readmissions is a national healthcare priority. Most of the interventions to reduce hospital readmission have been concentrated in the inpatient setting. However, there is increasing attention placed on the role of primary care physicians (PCPs) in improving the transition from hospital to home. In this article, a primary care physician's perspective of how inpatient and outpatient providers can partner to create the ideal care transition is described. Seven steps that occur during the hospitalization are highlighted: communicate with the PCP on admission, involve the PCP early regarding discharge planning, notify the PCP on hospital discharge, complete the discharge summary at time of discharge, schedule follow‐up appointments by discharge, ensure prescriptions are available at the patient's pharmacy, and educate the patient about self‐management. Another 7 are described as the role of the PCP and clinic staff: call the patient within 72 hours of discharge, ensure follow‐up appointments with the PCP, coordinate care, repeat above until medically stable, create access for patients with new symptoms, track readmission rates, and track and review frequently admitted patients. Insights are offered on how the changing financial landscape can help support elements of this idealized transition‐of‐care program. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2013;8:472–477. © 2013 Society of Hospital Medicine

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