This is Science Today. It's estimated that in the
near future, the majority of Americans entering
a hospital will be cared for by a physician known
as a hospitalist, rather than their own primary
care physician. Dr. Steve Pantilat, a professor
of medicine at the University of California, San
Francisco says this growing system will work best
if there's ongoing communication between the two
What we've learned in a study that we did, is that
primary care physicians like to communicate by phone.
They like to actually talk to the hospitalist and
so we encourage hospitalists to pick up the phone
and call the primary care physician, particularly
at admission and at discharge. And when things change
- when patients get more sick is another time that
primary care physicians want to know about their
Hospitalists are becoming more popular because it's
believed they improve the quality and efficiency
of inpatient care and are more available than primary
care physicians. But without good communication,
there's a downside.
They don't know the patient very well and there's
a discontinuity between the primary care physician
taking care of you in the outpatient side and the
hospitalist taking care of you in the hospital.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.