Prospective comparison of curbside versus formal consultations

J Hosp Med. 2013 Jan;8(1):31-5. doi: 10.1002/jhm.1983. Epub 2012 Oct 12.


Background: Curbside consultations are commonly requested during the care of hospitalized patients, but physicians perceive that the recommendations provided may be based on inaccurate or incomplete information.

Objective: To compare the accuracy and completeness of the information received from providers requesting a curbside consultation of hospitalists with that obtained in a formal consultation on the same patients, and to examine whether the recommendations offered in the 2 consultations differed.

Design: Prospective cohort.

Setting: University-affiliated, urban safety net hospital.

Main outcome measures: Proportion of curbside consultations with inaccurate or incomplete information; frequency with which recommendations in the formal consultation differed from those in the curbside consultation.

Results: Curbside consultations were requested for 50 patients, 47 of which were also evaluated in a formal consultation performed on the same day by a hospitalist other than the one performing the curbside consultation. Based on information collected in the formal consultation, information was either inaccurate or incomplete in 24/47 (51%) of the curbside consultations. Management advice after formal consultation differed from that given in the curbside consultation for 28/47 patients (60%). When inaccurate or incomplete information was received, the advice provided in the formal versus the curbside consultation differed in 22/24 patients (92%, P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Information presented during inpatient curbside consultations of hospitalists is often inaccurate or incomplete, and this often results in inaccurate management advice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Colorado
  • Hospitals, University
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods
  • Referral and Consultation / standards*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data