Hospitalists contribute to successful outcomes for inpatients

The rapid rise of hospitalists caring for inpatients received strong support from a new report published by the Archives of Internal Medicine. Hospital patients who receive care from both surgeons and hospitalists have better outcomes, the report found.

"Comanagement of surgical patients by medicine physicians has been shown to improve efficiency and to reduce adverse outcomes," wrote Gulsham Sharma, M.D., M.P.H. from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, and his co-writers for the report.

Dr. Sharma's team studied nearly 700,000 patients who were hospitalized for surgery from 1996 to 2006 and analyzed the number who received care from both hospitalists and surgeons for about 70 percent of the time patients were treated. The results show that comanaged care expanded 11.4 percent each year between 2001 and 2006. In the report's first five years, joint care remained steady at about 35 percent.

In recent years, hospitals have hired hospitalists to ensure that physicians are always available on-site to see patients in an emergency or urgent situations. Hospitalists also have helped to calm the stress and anxiety of hospitalized patients and families with daily visits.

The trend in hiring hospitalists made the difference in the rise of multidisciplinary care for patients. The report found older patients were more likely to have the increased care from both types of physicians.

"Comanagement of surgical patients by medicine physicians [hospitalists] is increasing," the authors concluded. "To meet this need, training in internal medicine should include medical management of surgical patients."

To learn more about the Archives of Internal Medicine study:
- read the report