Who is a Supervising Provider?

Question: Which physician name should be selected by trainees when specifying their Supervising Provider?

Context: Trainees (medical students and residents) select a "Supervising Prescriber" when logging on to Connect Care, as previously posted. We've also posted about why this is important and what Connect Care activities are impacted in inpatient and outpatient settings.

While it is usually obvious to trainees who their Supervising Prescriber is, there are times when trainees cover multiple services or physicians and so see patients who have different attending physicians.

Answer: A supervising prescriber (physician) supervises another physician for some aspect of care provision. Trainees and some other clinicians (e.g., clinical assistants) are licensed to care for patients only while under the supervision of another fully licensed physician.

The supervising physician for a trainee is the physician accountable for the trainee's actions when orders are signed. During weekdays, this is usually the attending physician. However, after regular working hours, responsibility for patient care may be assigned to an on-call physician (also fully licensed and usually on the same specialty service).

To be sure, a resident should consider which staff physician (not a higher level trainee, but the fully qualified physician on service or call) the resident would call in the event of an emergency. That is who the trainee is acting on behalf of.

In a consultation context (inpatient or emergency consults), the same test applies. Consider who (staff physician) is called to discuss the case (or, who the senior resident or fellow would have to call). That consulting physician of the time is the supervising physician.

The supervising physician is NOT the resident training program director, a more senior trainee, or some other physician not directly accountable for the clinical care that the trainee is providing at the time an order is entered.

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