As the treatment of hospitalized children becomes more sophisticated, ongoing communication and care coordination between primary care physicians and hospital attending physicians becomes more critical.
Caring for hospitalized children and adolescents has become increasingly complex and often involves multiple physicians beyond the traditional primary care pediatrician, including hospitalists, medical subspecialists, surgical specialists, and hospital attending physicians.
In a new report published in Pediatrics, Patricia S. Lye, MD, and the Committee on Hospital Care and Section on Hospital Medicine summarize “the responsibilities of the pediatrician and other involved physicians in ensuring that children receive coordinated and comprehensive medical care delivered within the context of their medical homes as inpatients, and that care is appropriately continued on an outpatient basis.”
According to Lye and colleagues, illness that warrant hospitalization are becoming more complex and often require specialty consultations. It is becoming less common for the primary care pediatrician to be directly responsible for clinical management of the hospitalized child; instead, the responsibility of attending physician now may fall on the pediatric hospitalist, fulltime teaching attending pediatrician, pediatric medical subspecialist, or surgical specialist.
Therefore, it is vital that all physicians who treat this patient population understanding the functions that are essential components of this coordination and oversight role. Some of the key points from the AAP report are as follows:
Care coordination, according to Lye and colleagues, “must include continual involvement of the family, timely legible communication between inpatient and outpatient physicians, meticulous handoffs at every transition, and clear delineation of the responsibilities of all involved physicians during the hospital stay and when the child returns home.”
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