Direct phone communication to primary care physician to plan discharge from hospital: feasibility and benefits

Link to article at PubMed

BMC Health Serv Res. 2021 Dec 18;21(1):1352. doi: 10.1186/s12913-021-07398-w.


BACKGROUND: The discharge summary is the main vector of communication at the time of hospital discharge, but it is known to be insufficient. Direct phone contact between hospitalist and primary care physician (PCP) at discharge could ensure rapid transmission of information, improve patient safety and promote interprofessional collaboration. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and benefit of a phone call from hospitalist to PCP to plan discharge.

METHODS: This study was a prospective, single-center, cross-sectional observational study. It took place in an acute medicine unit of a French university hospital. The hospitalist had to contact the PCP by telephone within 72 h prior discharge, making a maximum of 3 call attempts. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients whose primary care physician could be reached by telephone at the time of discharge. The other criteria were the physicians' opinions on the benefits of this contact and its effect on readmission rates.

RESULTS: 275 patients were eligible. 8 hospitalists and 130 PCPs gave their opinion. Calls attempts were made for 71% of eligible patients. Call attempts resulted in successful contact with the PCP 157 times, representing 80% of call attempts and 57% of eligible patients. The average call completion rate was 47%. The telephone contact was perceived by hospitalist as useful and providing security. The PCPs were satisfied and wanted this intervention to become systematic. Telephone contact did not reduce the readmission rate.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the implementation of a standardized process, the feasibility of the intervention was modest. The main obstacle was hospitalists lacking time and facing difficulties in reaching the PCPs. However, physicians showed desire to communicate directly by telephone at the time of discharge.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: French C.N.I.L. registration number 2108852. Registration date October 12, 2017.

PMID:34922549 | DOI:10.1186/s12913-021-07398-w

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