NC Healthcare Reform – What Part Do Hospitalists Play?

We recently came across this New York Times article about the benefits of specialty hospitalists, and thought it was particularly interesting – especially amid our country’s struggle for efficient and cost-effective health care.

Hospitalists take extra steps, such as patient discharge briefings and staff mentoring, with hopes to transform and improve the health care process. And, according to studies done by the Journal of the American Medical Association, these specialists can reduce a patient’s hospital stay by as much as 30 percent, and reduce costs by as much as 20 percent.

This is great news for hospitals, who, in the wake of new legislation, will soon be penalized for errors and excessive readmissions. But what does this mean for doctors?

Though these specialists will reduce avoidable readmissions and ultimately cut costs for both hospitals and patients, incorporating these specialists with any regularity will likely stretch bandwidth at most institutions. These extra steps could detract from a doctor’s already-hectic schedule, straining a hospital’s staff even more. But will the increase in close patient care provide enough benefit to override the resources outlay? If the numbers the Journal of American Medical Association found are true, then hiring more hospitalists could be a very smart investment to make.

What are your thoughts? Please reply in the comments below.


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