Employed physicians don't provide higher quality care

Hospital employment of physicians alone is not enough to improve the quality of care, according to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Hospitals are increasingly employing physicians — 29 percent employed some of their physician workforce in 2003, compared to 42 percent in 2012, according to the study. Yet after examining 803 hospitals that switched to an integrated model and comparing them to 2,085 hospitals that did not begin to employ physicians, the researchers determined employment had little effect on quality of care.

They compared hospitals on four quality metrics: risk-adjusted hospital-level mortality rates, 30-day readmission rates, length of stay and patient satisfaction scores for common medical conditions. They found no association between employment and improvement in any of the four quality metrics, even up to two years after switching to an employment model.

The researchers conclude employment alone will not spur improvement in quality of care.

 

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