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Smart growth

Published in the November 2004 issue of Todayís Hospitalist

In talking to hospitalists around the country, one theme that surfaces in just about every conversation is how to maintain the specialtyís tremendous growth.

While thereís no doubt that launching a new hospitalist service is a Herculean task, the model is now fairly well established: Care for unassigned patients and in the process, youíll reduce length of stay and trim the costs of care. But once your program has been around for a few years, what do you do next?

Itís a question that seems to be on the minds of hospitalists everywhere. The problem, as one hospitalist in this monthís cover story points out, is that reducing length of stay can only take your program so far. Hospital administrators have a lot on their plates, and theyíre looking to their hospitalist services for some help.

In many ways, itís a great problem to have. Hospitalists are the hot new specialty, and the inpatient world is watching to see whether youíre up to the challenge.

Thereís certainly no shortage of projects you can tackle. As this monthís issue demonstrates, plenty of work remains to be done in the inpatient setting, whether itís boosting inpatient immunization rates or making sure that your patients get the cardiovascular drugs they need to stay out of the hospital.

You canít do it all at once, however. Thatís why veteran hospitalists say you need to choose carefully and match new initiatives to both your hospitalís--and your programís--mission.

While the choices may be difficult, there is a payoff. Programs that have expanded smartly are finding that they not only get additional resources to do their jobs, but also gain respect from their institutionís leadership.

For a fast growing specialty, that may be one of the best rewards of all.

Edward Doyle
Editor and Publisher
Todayís Hospitalist

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