As cardiologists specialized in the care of heart patients, hospitalists are physicians who specialize in the care of hospitalized patients.
Many patients are being treated by a hospitalist who is not their family doctor, but provides them with medical care during their hospital stay. This essay is a review of an article by Martin Buser titled; Hospitalist Programs in the Age of Healthcare Reform. The article was published in the Journal of Healthcare Management in 2010. The article describes the current status of hospitalized programs, challenges and benefits of the programs, seven traits of a successful hospitalized program and the future of the programs.
In the current health care systems, the primary problems of hospitals are continually shifting from the increasing number of uninsured patients to lack of beds in hospitals and insufficient number of physicians. With emergence of reforms in the health care system, there will be need for redesigning of the hospital programs through enhancement of hospitalist programs. This is because successful hospitalist programs have effective leadership, continued recruitment, exceeding patient expectations, proper support and maximum value.
The scope of the article covers the current trends of the hospitalist programs, challenges and benefits, characteristics of a successful hospitalist program and the future of these programs. The content of the modern trends of the hospitalist programs has been highlighted briefly and to the point. The traits of a successful hospitalist programs have been described in depth. The content of these traits is important for decision makers in the health care systems to understand these systems sufficiently so that they would make informed decisions based on the perceived benefits. The content on the hospitalist systems has been presented by the author in the context of the modern age of health care reform, (Buser, 2010).
In the current age of health care reform, hospitalist programs are a growing trend that improves work flow in hospitals. The current health care system has seen two thirds of hospitals using hospitalist programs. There is demand for more hospitals and a large percentage of emergency department unassigned patients would seek care from hospitalists. With hospitalist programs private referrals can double in volume. The current state of hospitalist programs shows that they care for a large percentage of mature and pediatric patients.
The author of the article presents the challenges that hospitalist programs face and their benefits in the age of health care reform. Hospital administrators use hospitalist programs to relieve family physicians from the pain of caring for inpatients so that they can focus on their outpatients. Hospitalists pay more attention to inpatient management because of their consistent practice patterns. This helps reduce the length of stay and thus the costs associated with patient care. The hospitalist programs are beneficial to the emergency departments by increasing the efficiency of patient flow, improving responsiveness and reduced ED subspecialty calls. Other benefits of the hospitalist programs in the age of health care reform include earlier discharge of patients and staff related benefits such as assistance with surgical management. The responsiveness of the nursing staff will also be enhanced by the hospitalist programs. Successful hospitalist programs lead to an increased percentage of return on investment of health care institutions. The hospitalist programs face the challenge of requirement of proper leadership, planning, clear expectations and a business plan and their effectiveness is challenged by inability to retain hospitalists due to insufficient financial support from the management, (Buser, 2010).
The traits of a successful hospitalist programs have been explained systematically by the author in this article to provide a basis for organization management to assess the level of success of their health programs. Hospitalist programs provide effective leadership in the age of health care reform. This is made possible through training of top management of the hospital or changing the management to meet the needs of new reforms in health care. The hospitalists programs use improved communication techniques such as aftercare calls that lead to exceeding patient expectations in health care. Successful programs also have proper financial support hence offer maximum value. A thriving hospitalist program is supportive to skilled and competent physicians.
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