Do Hospitalists Affect Clinical Outcomes and Efficiency for Patients with Acute Upper Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage (UGIH)?
The Center for Research in the Implementation of Innovative Strategies in Practice at the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Iowa City, Iowa 52246, USA. Journal of Hospital Medicine
(Impact Factor: 2.3).
03/2010; 5(3):133-9. DOI: 10.1002/jhm.612
Care by hospitalists has been associated with improved/similar clinical outcomes and efficiency. However, less is known about their effect on conditions dependent upon specialists for procedures/treatment plans. Our objective was to compare care for upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage (UGIH) patients attended by academic hospitalists and nonhospitalists.
The study included 450 UGIH patients admitted to general medical services of 6 teaching hospitals. Outcomes included in-hospital mortality and complications (ie, recurrent bleeding, intensive care unit [ICU] transfer, decompensation, transfusion, reendoscopy, 30-day readmission). Efficiency was measured by hospital costs and length of stay (LOS).
Of 450 patients, 40% (177) were cared for by hospitalists with no differences between groups by endoscopic diagnosis, performance of early esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), Rockall risk score, or Charlson comorbidity index. Unadjusted clinical outcomes between hospitalists and nonhospitalists were similar except for 2 outcomes: patients cared for by hospitalists were more likely to receive a transfusion (74% vs. 63%; P = 0.02) or be readmitted within 30 days (7.3% vs. 3.3%; P = 0.05). However, differences in adverse outcomes between providers were not seen after multivariable adjustments. Median LOS was similar for hospitalists and nonhospitalists (4 days; P = 0.69), but patients cared for by hospitalists had higher median costs ($7,359 vs. $6,181; P < 0.01). In multivariable analyses, LOS was similar (5.2 vs. 4.7 days; P = 0.15) and costs remained higher for the hospitalist-led teams (P < 0.03).
Despite having similar overall outcomes and LOS, costs were higher in UGIH patients attended by hospitalists. These results suggest that the academic hospitalist model may be tempered in patients requiring specialists for procedures or management.
Available from: Heather L White
- "Additional outcome indicators included in-hospital complications and adverse events (n = 8), emergency department and outpatient follow-up visits within 30 days of discharge (n = 4 and n = 3, respectively), patient and/or parent satisfaction (n = 8), and patients' self-reported health (n = 3). Five of the eight articles which examined complications or adverse events found no significant differences between providers [51,67,82,86,89]. Huddleston et al.  observed a reduction in surgical complications in orthopaedic patients whose postoperative medical care was managed by hospitalists. "
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ABSTRACT: Despite more than a decade of research on hospitalists and their performance, disagreement still exists regarding whether and how hospital-based physicians improve the quality of inpatient care delivery. This systematic review summarizes the findings from 65 comparative evaluations to determine whether hospitalists provide a higher quality of inpatient care relative to traditional inpatient physicians who maintain hospital privileges with concurrent outpatient practices.
Articles on hospitalist performance published between January 1996 and December 2010 were identified through MEDLINE, Embase, Science Citation Index, CINAHL, NHS Economic Evaluation Database and a hand-search of reference lists, key journals and editorials. Comparative evaluations presenting original, quantitative data on processes, efficiency or clinical outcome measures of care between hospitalists, community-based physicians and traditional academic attending physicians were included (n = 65). After proposing a conceptual framework for evaluating inpatient physician performance, major findings on quality are summarized according to their percentage change, direction and statistical significance.
The majority of reviewed articles demonstrated that hospitalists are efficient providers of inpatient care on the basis of reductions in their patients' average length of stay (69%) and total hospital costs (70%); however, the clinical quality of hospitalist care appears to be comparable to that provided by their colleagues. The methodological quality of hospitalist evaluations remains a concern and has not improved over time. Persistent issues include insufficient reporting of source or sample populations (n = 30), patients lost to follow-up (n = 42) and estimates of effect or random variability (n = 35); inappropriate use of statistical tests (n = 55); and failure to adjust for established confounders (n = 37).
Future research should include an expanded focus on the specific structures of care that differentiate hospitalists from other inpatient physician groups as well as the development of better conceptual and statistical models that identify and measure underlying mechanisms driving provider-outcome associations in quality.
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