In the busy pace of medical practice, whether in-hospital or outpatient, it is common to lose track of what happens to the patient after discharge. There are two good reasons to try to follow up, when possible, on how the patient fared after leaving the hospital or outpatient office:
1. Calling a patient is important psychologically to the patient. Your call lets the patient know that you care by taking the time to follow up.
2. It is important to your own education. Once the patient leaves the hospital or office, if you don’t hear back is it because the patient improved and doesn’t feel the need to return? Or perhaps the patient’s condition has not improved and the patient may have sought care elsewhere or otherwise feels hesitant to return. This is an important source of learning that can help you in treating future patients. You wouldn’t want to continue a treatment that doesn’t work, but you would want to emphasize one that does.
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