The following post is by Jamie Newman, FACP, editorial advisor of ACP Hospitalist:
I read the April 6 Annals of Internal Medicine with great interest. In it, many readers responded to Howard Beckman's previously published essay on the relationship between hospitalists and primary care physicians. Many physicians bemoan their loss of inpatient control of patients, and perceived lack of communication.
I think back to my own private/university hybrid practice. When my patients were admitted to the resident services, I never heard a word. There was absolutely no communication. I would say that most hospitalists do a much better job of communicating with the outpatient physician then any resident team. It's a double standard.
And nothing stops a physician from paying a call to a patient while he or she is in the hospital. It's all the PR with none of the paperwork, and guarantees improved communication. Many of the physicians who no longer practice in the hospital have given it up because they don't want to do it for financial or workload issues. You can't have it both ways. I wholeheartedly agree that it is in the patients' interest that communication and transitions of care be as seamless as possible, but a return to the old system is not the way to do it.