Background: Medical residents are routinely entrusted with transitions of care, yet little is known about the duration or content of their perceived responsibility for patients they discharge from the hospital. Objective: To examine the duration and content of internal medicine residents’ perceived responsibility for patients they discharge from the hospital. The secondary objective was to determine whether specific individual experiences and characteristics correlate with perceived responsibility. Design: Multi-site, cross-sectional 24-question survey delivered via email or paper-based form. Participants: Internal medicine residents (post-graduate years 1–3) at nine university and community-based internal medicine training programs in the United States. Main Measures: Perceived responsibility for patients after discharge as measured by a previously developed single-item tool for duration of responsibility and novel domain-specific questions assessing attitudes towards specific transition of care behaviors. Key Results: Of 817 residents surveyed, 469 responded (57.4 %). One quarter of residents (26.1 %) indicated that their responsibility for patients ended at discharge, while 19.3 % reported perceived responsibility extending beyond 2 weeks. Perceived duration of responsibility did not correlate with level of training (P = 0.57), program type (P = 0.28), career path (P = 0.12), or presence of burnout (P = 0.59). The majority of residents indicated they were responsible for six of eight transitional care tasks (85.1–99.3 % strongly agree or agree). Approximately half of residents (57 %) indicated that it was their responsibility to directly contact patients’ primary care providers at discharge. and 21.6 % indicated that it was their responsibility to ensure that patients attended their follow-up appointments. Conclusions: Internal medicine residents demonstrate variability in perceived duration of responsibility for recently discharged patients. Neither the duration nor the content of residents’ perceived responsibility was consistently associated with level of training, program type, career path, or burnout, suggesting there may be unmeasured factors such as professional role modeling that shape these perceptions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Internal Medicine