Published in the October 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
How smooth is your working relationship with specialists? If you’re like most hospitalists, problems with consultants are a fact of life, a theme that we explore throughout this month’s issue.
While some specialists aren’t involved enough “think of the consultant who disappears once the patient is stable “others want to be brought in on even the tiniest decisions about patient care. Or some want hospitalists to take the lead when patients are admitted during nights and weekends, then hand back control during the week.
Our cover story offers some tips for working through challenges with consultants. The key, say the hospitalists we spoke to, is to establish ground rules up front “and then hold specialists to those rules.
That’s the advice experts have offered for years to hospitalists involved in comanagement programs. Our On the Wards department, which looks at hospitalist relationships with surgeons, elaborates on that advice by describing solutions that hospitalists can bring to the table.
Have a surgeon who always wants you to rush down to the OR to clear patients for surgeries scheduled two weeks ago? Try working with that surgeon’s office manager to get on the schedule a little earlier, and to make sure the patient’s H&P is in the preadmission records.
It’s interesting that both stories place a large burden on hospitalists to make relationships with consultants work. While that may not always be possible and hospitalists may have to walk away from a consultant relationship, that decision should be a last resort.
That’s because making specialists happy is key to keeping administrators happy. And ironing out problems and keeping everyone happy will also improve patient care.
Editor & Publisher