Harnessing the Hospitalist Movement (Part 3 of 4): Reduction and Coordination

by on

Continuing our look at how you can effectively implement a hospitalist program at your organization, we move on to the second strategy outlined in Joe Cantlupe’s article for HealthLeaders Media: using hospitalists to coordinate care and reduce readmissions.

Cantlupe writes, “To improve care coordination and reduce readmissions, particularly among patients discharged to skilled-nursing or rehab centers, hospitals are tasking hospitalists with coordinating care, especially for patients without primary-care physicians.”

According to one organization interviewed, it has seen an increase in patients without insurance or a PCP and little knowledge of proper health management, which is the perfect storm needed for a “revolving door” of patient readmissions.

This is why hospitalists are becoming even more integral to an organization’s discharge strategy.

Cantlupe writes, “Hospitalist groups are tapping into electronic health records to enable smooth transition of care and to ensure that laboratory results are finalized following a patient discharge… In addition, once patients are discharged, follow-up information is sent to primary-care physicians. If a patient doesn’t have a PCP, hospitalists work as the primary-care physician to oversee follow-up care, or connect with other physicians if the patient needs additional observation or care in a nursing home.”

One type of hospitalist, the extensivist, who works in both the hospital and the clinic, is becoming ever more valuable to hospitals. Many hospitals, in fact, would like to expand their roles because of the impact seeing the same physician has on the quality of a patient’s care.

Extensivists in California, for instance, have helped reduce a Medicare patient’s length of stay from 5.6 to 4.5 days, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported in 2011.

David Meltzer, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the section of hospital medicine at the University of Chicago said, “Many people think that the doctor-patient relationship is the key to better health. If that is true, patients who are often in the hospital might get better care if they could see the same doctor in clinic and in the hospital.”

Has your organization started using hospitalists more actively in care coordination? What have been the results? Have you seen fewer readmissions and more consistent care? What strategies and initiatives helped you to achieve this with your hospitalist program?

-by Pete Fernbaugh

VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: