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Sunday, October 10th 2010

Interspecialty Relationships

A complicated hospital stay is likely to involve multiple physicians in any patient’s care.

At large academic centers there is often more than professional congeniality amongst the specialties. There are reputations and “interoffice” politics. In some cases, unfortunately, I can imagine it effecting patient care. I feel I’ve seen instances where consults, coming from certain services, were dismissed or taken lightly. I feel I’ve seen instances where recommendations from consulting services are taken with less heed because of the physician or service they came from. True, I’m not sure I can say I’ve seen negative consequences from such in specific but you can imagine such.

But being aware of the realities and paying attention to who is participating in your, or your friend or family member’s, care while you’re in the hospital can be important.

It’s well documented that having an advocate at your bedside in the hospital can aid your hospital course. Questioning the physicians you see in the hospital is important. I think it is important to keep track of every service that is participating in your care. If a provider seeing you doesn’t make it clear the first questions out of your mouth should be “What’s your name? What service are you with?”

You or your family or friends should advocate for daily calls from the consulting services to the primary service, not just a reiteration of their recommendations in the shared electronic medical records. When your primary team rounds you should inquire what recommendations the consulting services are making.

Even if you get a full annoyed looks and eye rolls.