BACKGROUND: Communication and courtesy are important elements of consultations, but there is limited published data about the quality of trainee consults.
OBJECTIVES: This study assessed residents' views on consult interactions, evaluated the impact of the consult interactions on patient care, and developed and implemented a pocket card and training on trainee consults.
METHODS: We surveyed resident and fellow physicians at Mount Sinai Hospital to assess perceptions, created a CONSULT card that uses a mnemonic for key elements, and developed a training session for how to call consults. We also conducted a consult training session using the CONSULT card as part of orientation in 2011 for all interns. We assessed the acceptability, feasibility, and sustainability of this intervention.
RESULTS: Of 1001 trainees, 403 (40%) responded. Respondents reported that the most important components of calling consults included giving patient name, medical record number, and location (91%), and giving a clear question/reason (89%). Respondents also reported that these behaviors are done consistently for only 64%, and 10% of consults, respectively. Trainees reported that consult interactions affect the timeliness of treatment (62%), timeliness of tests performed (57%), appropriateness of diagnosis (56%), and discharge planning (49%). Approximately 300 interns attended the consult training session, and their feedback demonstrated acceptability and utility of the session.
CONCLUSIONS: Trainees believe that consult interactions impact patient care, but important components of the consult call are often missing. Our training and CONSULT card is an acceptable, feasible, and novel training intervention. Once developed, the training session and CONSULT card require minimal faculty time to deliver.
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