Overworked Hospitalists Provide More Expensive, Less Efficient Care

Increasing hospitalist workloads also increases patient length of stay and cost of care, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers performed a retrospective analysis of hospitalist and patient data for more than 20,000 inpatients admitted to a hospital system between 2008 and 2011.

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With hospital occupancies less than 75 percent, an increased hospitalist workload lengthened stays from 5.5 to 7.5 days. When occupancy was between 75 and 85 percent, LOS increased exponentially. Above 85 percent occupancy, the growth curve for LOS exceeded exponential growth. Each incremental change in workload was also associated with higher costs of care.

While researchers noted the study should be completed in other hospital settings, they suspect the effect is generalizable for all hospitalists.

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