In the largest study to date evaluating the outcome of in-hospital care by various physician types, findings show that care by hospitalists resulted in shorter stays and lower costs to patients.
Study results are reported in the Dec. 20, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Findings show that compared to general internists, patients cared for by hospitalists had a length of stay shortened by 12 percent, or nearly half a day, and modestly lower costs. The two groups exhibited similar mortality and hospital readmission rates. When compared to family physicians, patients overseen by hospitalists also stayed in the hospital almost half a day less. Treatment cost, mortality and readmission rates were similar.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and Tufts University led the study team.
The study is based on data from 45 hospitals across the country that participate in Perspective, a national database used for hospital quality and utilization benchmarking. Researchers gathered information including patient mortality, readmission, length-of-stay and cost of treatment. Using these criteria, they compared the outcome of 76, 926 patients under the care of hospitalists, general internists and family physicians across seven common inpatient conditions: heart failure, pneumonia, stroke, chronic obstructive coronary disease, chest pain, heart attack and urinary tract infection.
Hospitalist medicine is one of the fastest growing specialties in medicine, the researchers said, yet little evidence existed to support the benefit of hospitalist care before this study.
Even though the differences in the length of stay may seem small, when multiplied by the thousands of admissions that hospitalists see each year, the effects can be quite large, said Peter Lindenauer, MD, MSc, lead author of the study and associate professor of medicine at Baystate Medical Center and the Tufts University
|Contact: Lauren Hammit|
University of California - San Francisco