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Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Mar;105(3):484-9. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.686.

Prospective assessment of inpatient gastrointestinal consultation requests in an academic teaching hospital.

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San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California, USA.



To assess the completeness of gastrointestinal (GI) inpatient consultations at an academic teaching hospital.


We conducted a prospective, cross-sectional study of 278 inpatient GI consultation requests evaluated from 1 July 2005 to 31 May 2007. A questionnaire assessing multiple aspects of the requesting health-care providers' knowledge and documentation of patient information was completed by first-year GI fellows. Completeness of the consultation was evaluated by the GI consultation attending physician.


The most frequent consultation requests pertained to patients with GI hemorrhage (52.5%) and were made by first-year residents (56.8%). In 15% of requests, health-care providers lacked basic knowledge about the patients for whom consultations were sought. Conversely, in 17% of consultations, pertinent information could not be located in patients' paper medical chart/electronic medical record. The strongest predictors for a complete consultation were requesters' knowledge of patients' past medical history (P < 0.001), documentation of patients' current illness (P < 0.001), and presence of the providers' admission note in the paper medical chart (P = 0.002). Consultations requested between 5 and 10 PM were assessed to be more complete (P = 0.02), and more incomplete consultations occurred in the first 3 months of the academic year (P = 0.04).


In 16% of inpatient GI consultation requests analyzed, crucial patient data were missing or were unknown by the requesting provider. Several aspects of requesting providers' knowledge and documentation of patient information were strongly associated with completeness of inpatient GI consultations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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