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A new survey conducted by SHM and the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Organized Medical Staff Section finds that while more than 90% of hospitalists feel an HM presence improves the quality of hospital care, less than half of primary-care physicians (PCPs) feel the same way. On the bright side, the percentage of PCPs with favorable views of HM is climbing.

“There seems to be a general trend toward improvement of how primary-care physicians view hospitalists,” says Chad Whelan, MD, FHM, associate professor of medicine and director of the division of hospital medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and chair of SHM’s Career Satisfaction Task Force. “But there are still very different views. ... It’s a narrower gap, but it’s still a gap.”

The data come from a recent survey of 874 hospitalists and 497 PCPs. The "Survey on the Growing Hospitalist Trend" is a follow-up to a similar study conducted two years ago to gauge the effects of HM on the primary-care model, and vice versa. The study also looks to define perceptions of the hospitalist model on the care of shared patients.

One key issue the survey examined was viewpoints on how well hospitalists and PCPs communicate with each other. Upon admission, the survey shows, half of hospitalists feel they communicate effectively with PCPs, but only 25% of PCPs feel the same way about hospitalists. On discharge, the disparity grows, with 70% of hospitalists saying they feel they communicate well with PCPs; however, only 35% of PCPs agree.

Still, 46% of PCPs agree or strongly agree that hospitalists have improved the overall quality of hospital care. That number is up from 40% two years ago.

“Everyone can learn from this,” says James DeNuccio, director of the AMA’s Organized Medical Staff Services and Physicians in Practice. “If the hospitalists and PCPs both can learn something from this, that helps them adjust their practice. In the end, patients will benefit.”

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