A Missed Opportunity to Improve Patient Satisfaction? Patient Perceptions of Inpatient Communication With Their Primary Care Physician

Am J Med Qual. 2016 Nov;31(6):568-576. doi: 10.1177/1062860615593339. Epub 2015 Jul 8.


Improving patient satisfaction is a major focus of hospitals. Patient satisfaction could be driven by patient perception of hospital team communication with their primary care physician (PCP). A retrospective mixed methods approach was used to characterize the relationship between patient satisfaction and patient perception of hospital team-PCP communication. Data were obtained through general medicine inpatient and postdischarge interviews, oversampling "vulnerable elders," and a faxed PCP survey. Among 1044 patients and their PCPs, 22.3% of PCPs were not aware of their patient's hospitalization. Among PCPs who reported that communication did not occur, half (49.2%) of their patients thought communication had occurred, implying a lack of patient awareness of discontinuity of care and possibly impeding safety. Patients who perceived that communication occurred were more satisfied with care (70.0% vs 53.1%, P < .001). Therefore, hospitals could potentially improve patient safety and satisfaction by seizing a missed opportunity to improve patient awareness of communication.

Keywords: care transitions; hospitalist-PCP communication; patient safety; patient satisfaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration
  • Continuity of Patient Care / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Care Team / standards*
  • Patient Safety / standards
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Perception
  • Physicians, Primary Care / psychology
  • Physicians, Primary Care / standards*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires