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Care Transitions Increasingly Important for Outpatient Doctors

Primary care physicians have important role in preventing transition gaps for hospitalized patients

TUESDAY, July 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The divide between outpatient and inpatient medicine seems to be growing, highlighting the importance of managing care transitions as an outpatient-only physician, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Noting that fewer providers are juggling both inpatient and outpatient duties, the authors discuss the implications of care coordination and transition processes for outpatient-only physicians.

According to the article, primary care physicians can play a major role in preventing transition gaps for their hospitalized patients. Lines of communication should remain open between hospital-based clinicians and primary care physicians, via electronic medical records and other modes of communication. Primary care physicians can have the greatest influence on continuity after patient discharge; follow-up visits should include assessment of patient recovery and review of the post-discharge care plan and medication regimen. The shift to a hospitalist model of care can be unnerving for patients, and it is important to notify patients of this change. Courtesy visits to the hospital allow primary care physicians to stay involved in patient care without being the caregiver in the hospital, and are important for patients. Primary care physicians should also ask patients about their welfare and any hospitalizations that may have occurred since their last visit.

“For office-based physicians, this paradigm shift in hospitalized care has heightened the importance of implementing processes that maintain continuity of care for their patients across different settings,” according to the article.

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