Lower risk of death for patients who see the same doctor after hospital treatment


Hospital readmission or relative risk of death decreases for patients who see a doctor who actually treated them during hospitalization, rather than another physician, after being released from their stay.

According to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, "Patients were significantly less likely to die or be readmitted if they were seen in follow-up by a hospital physician rather than a community physician or specialist." Risk of these outcomes further decreased with each visit, bringing to attention that continuity of care can greatly affect quality of patient recovery and can prevent undesirable results.

Factors preventing quality follow-up for patients included inadequate transfer of patient information or records to their primary care physician and also a doctor's unfamiliarity with hospitals' post-patient discharge therapies or procedures. The study suggests that improvements in these identified areas can potentially prevent or reduce "bad outcomes."

This population-based study took place over a 5-year period, analyzing patient data of adults from Ontario, Canada in the 30 days following release from a hospital stay. Of the 938,833 patients followed, 65,718 died or were readmitted.

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Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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