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Frequently hospitalized patients may benefit from new medical specialty focused on their needs
Date:4/28/2011

The use of hospitalists also has grown as hospitals have changed how they are reimbursed for their services, Meltzer contends. "Though the evidence that hospitalists produce savings is not consistent, it is clear that the growth of hospitalists accelerated as evidence to support cost-savings began to appear in the mid-1990s," he said.

The use of hospitalists has the potential of creating communication problems, however, as these specialists do not always know the full medical histories of their patients as well as those patients' general care physicians. The establishment of a specialty called the comprehensive care physician, or comprehensivist, could overcome that problem, Meltzer contends. The comprehensivist would work both in a hospital and an attached clinic and attend to those at greatest risk of hospitalization.

"Congestive heart failure, end-stage renal disease or liver disease, sickle cell disease or chronic-obstructive pulmonary disease might all be reasonable models for such care, especially if cases could be collected into centers of excellence with sufficient volume to support such degrees of specialization," he said.

Although the comprehensivist model has yet to be introduced in the United States, it is similar to other approaches in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, he said.


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Contact: William Harms
w-harms@uchicago.edu
773-702-8356
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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