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  • Publication # 13-RA006

Experienced primary care physicians want to know about your clinical status while you are in the hospital

Primary Care

Your primary care physician (PCP) wants to receive a wide array of information about your status and care when you are hospitalized, but not a copy of your daily progress notes, according to a new consensus survey. For example, your physician wants access to initial lab and radiology test results, medications ordered, admitting diagnoses, and consultants’ examinations. The two-round modified Delphi survey involved 12 physicians with 8–30 years of experience in primary care, who ranked 89 candidate items of information that they would like to receive about patients from their practice who are hospitalized. The online survey’s first round included five family physicians and seven general internists and the second round included four family physicians plus five general internists.

The PCPs came to agreement in the first round of the study on 37 items they wanted to have access to, and one, daily progress notes, that they did not. In the second round, a smaller group of PCPs reviewed the 51 remaining items and agreed on another 6 items that they wanted. Upon their patients’ discharge, physicians wanted to receive a brief description of the patients’ hospital course and information on discharge medication/medication reconciliation, pending tests, and followup plans. Between admission and discharge, the physicians only wanted to be alerted to medical crises (such as cardiac arrest, respiratory failure). The PCPs came to no consensus on how they preferred receiving information, although email was the most favored method, followed by fax; standard mail via the U.S. Postal Service was the least preferred method. The study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS18151 and HS18721).

More details are in "Information primary care physicians want to receive about their hospitalized patients," by Kenneth J. Smith, M.D., M.S., Sunday Clark, Sc.D., M.P.H., Wishwa N. Kapoor, M.D., M.P.H., and others in the June 2012 Family Medicine 44(6), pp. 425-430.


Page last reviewed March 2013
Internet Citation: Experienced primary care physicians want to know about your clinical status while you are in the hospital: Primary Care. March 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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