10 Reasons to Follow Up with Your Doctor After Leaving the Hospital


It’s important to follow-up with your doctor after being discharged from the hospital.

Older Americans are admitted to the hospital more often than any other age group. Then, after they leave the hospital, one in five ends up back within 30 days. Most of the time, this is preventable.

Part of the problem is that people with Medicare often get medical care from many different doctors and don’t know if they are talking with each other. This can lead to care that is not well coordinated, resulting in unneeded tests and medication errors. You can help prevent these errors by taking an active role in your care.

Schedule a follow-up appointment with your primary care physician to:

  1. Go over your condition and the steps you should take together.
  2. Review your medications, why you need them and how to take them.
  3. Understand any changes to your medication that occurred while you were in the hospital.
  4. Identify who you should call if you have health concerns after being discharged.
  5. Make sure you know the warning signs of your condition and when to call a doctor. Here are some printable warning sign sheets for common issues:
    – blood clots
    – COPD
    – heart attack
    – heart failure
    – pneumonia
  6. Determine if you need additional help or tools to care for yourself in your home.
  7. Address whether you should benefit from a care transitions coach, someone who will help you succeed in your next place of care.
  8. Review your personal health record or help you complete one.
  9. Discuss your current health goals and plan for future health goals.
  10. Identify other follow-up appointments, if needed, and where to go for them.

Get more resources to prevent hospitalization from Qsource, contracted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve healthcare quality.