IS THE CONSULT SYSTEM in your hospital broken? Do you feel like you’re forever chasing down consultants and waiting hours—or days—for their recommendations?
As our cover story notes, hospitalists have to walk a fine line when it comes to consults. While you may need to be persistent to get the information you need, you also need to make sure you don’t alienate the experts in your hospital.
And although EHR systems may have streamlined the consult-ordering process, they can make matters worse. Hospitalists complain that when consults are ordered electronically, the whole process becomes even more impersonal and automated.
What’s the solution? Some hospitalists suggest following up an electronic order with a quick phone call or text. Others encourage hospitalists to set a good example by making sure they themselves are easy to reach.
It seems like a lot of the problems surrounding consults could be solved with better etiquette, something that is often sacrificed for efficiency.
So in the spirit of the holiday season, I’d like you to try something. The next time you need a consult, reach out to the specialist and spend a minute talking on the phone or in person. Even if that conversation doesn’t improve the process, you’ll have spent a few moments you wouldn’t have otherwise talking to a colleague.
Maybe you’ll learn a little something about that person, and perhaps he or she might get back to you sooner the next time. As our What Works about peer coaching points out: It’s the connections you make while on the job that can improve your own satisfaction and wellbeing.
On that note, I’ll wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season.
Editor & Publisher