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Inpatient service handoffs occur when physicians who care for hospitalized patients end a period of clinical service and handover a panel of patients to an oncoming physician. Despite the large amount of research on handoffs, none has described the patient perspective when cared for by a hospitalist physician during a service handoff.To describe hospitalized patients’ experiences regarding inpatient service changes, and develop a conceptual framework to inform future efforts to improve service-level handoffs.Interview-based qualitative analysis using in-depth, semistructured interviews of hospitalized patients on a nonteaching hospitalist service. Patients were interviewed between October 2014 and December 2014 at an academic medical center whose inpatient stay spanned a weekly service change. We utilized an inductive approach with no a priori hypotheses and used a constant comparative method to generate emerging themes to develop a conceptual model that captured the patient experience during the transition.Of patients who agreed to participate (40/43), most (85%) were unaware that a transition had occurred between their hospitalists. Six major themes emerged related to patients’ experiences with hospitalist service handoffs: (1) importance of physician-patient communication, (2) desire for transparency in transitions, (3) an indifference toward transitions, (4) importance of hospitalist-specialist communication, (5) formation of new opportunities from a transition, and (6) effects of bedside manner.Hospitalized patients desire improved communication and a more formalized transition process between hospitalists during service handoffs. Hospitalists should recognize that this transition may represent an opportunity to improve the hospitalized patient’s experience and satisfaction.