Clinical question: What effect does a hospitalist-staffed, post-discharge clinic have on time to first post-hospitalization visit?
Background: Hospital discharge is a well-recognized care transition that can leave patients vulnerable to morbidity and re-hospitalization. Limited primary care access can hamper complex post-hospital follow-up. Discharge clinic models staffed by hospitalists have been developed to mitigate access issues, but research is lacking to describe their characteristics and benefits.
Study design: Single-center, prospective, observational database review.
Setting: Large, academic primary care practice affiliated with an academic medical center.
Synopsis: Between 2009 and 2011, this hospitalist-staffed, post-discharge clinic saw 596 patients, while the affiliated, large primary care practice saw 10,839 patients. Patients utilizing the hospitalist discharge clinic were more likely to be black (39% vs. 29%, <0.001) and to receive primary care from resident clinics (40% vs. 21%, <0.001). The median duration from hospital discharge to the first clinic visit was shorter for the post-discharge clinic (8.45 ± 0.43 days, <0.001).
The number of radiology and laboratory tests performed at the first post-discharge clinic visit showed similar patterns between the hospitalist discharge clinic and the primary care practice. Study design and size did not permit comparisons of readmission rates or mortality from time of discharge and also precluded evaluation of interventions on discharge-related medication errors or response time to outstanding test results.
Bottom line: A hospitalist-staffed, post-discharge clinic was associated with shorter time to first post-discharge visit, especially for patients who are black and receive primary care from resident clinics.
Citation: Doctoroff L, Nijhawan A, McNally D, Vanka A, Yu R, Mukamal KJ. The characteristics and impact of a hospitalist-staffed post-discharge clinic. 2013;126(11):1016.e9-1016.e15.