Saturday, February 27, 2010

When hospitalist programs run on fumes

---it's diminishing returns for hospitals.

I ran across this post at Better Health by Dr. Wes via a tweet at Med Rants to a post at Kevin MD.

Dr. Wes raised a point which is under discussed and difficult to quantify but well known by those in the trenches of hospital care: every hospitalist program has an optimal patient load above which its economic value to the hospital wanes.

It appears hospitalist services are increasingly finding themselves overwhelmed with admissions and the promise of a reasonable lifestyle can be assured by either limiting the number of patients admitted to each hospitalist or hiring more of them. But new hires are becoming tougher to justify in this “do more with less” economic time in medicine. As a result, it appears existing hospitalists are quickly finding they’ve hit the peak speed of their clinical-care gerbil wheels.

Hospitals may think they're saving money by under staffing programs. But good resource utilization takes time, and under staffing may result in decreased efficiency.

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