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Works well with others

December 2009

Published in the December 2009 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

WORKING WITH SUBSPECIALISTS isn’t always easy. No one knows this better than hospitalists, who as a specialty have built their reputation in part on their ability to partner with other physicians to care for all kinds of patients.

As this month’s issue demonstrates, the comanagement trend shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, that trend has evolved to the point that hospitalists are now the primary admitters for many specialized groups of patients.

In separate articles this month, we look at how hospitalists are stepping up to the plate to care for ICH patients and oncology patients. Hospitalists in these situations face many of the same issues that come with any comanagement agreement. There are questions about how much support subspecialists should “and do “provide, and doubts about whether hospitalists are overreaching their training.

Hospitalists have for a long time worked through these challenges, and I have no doubt that they’ll do the same with new admitting services. But the rapid growth of comanagement and new service lines also raises some bigger concerns.

In this year’s Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, for example, we asked hospitalists to rate their satisfaction on a range of issues. When we asked respondents to rate their satisfaction with “respect from other physicians,” the mean score was just under 7 (on a scale of 1 to 10).

That score isn’t awful “think of it as a “C” in a standard grading system ” but the area of respect received one of the lowest scores in our survey. As hospitalists take on more admitting services, freeing up subspecialists to focus on other parts of their practice, can we expect that “respect” indicator to rise?

We’ll find out in future surveys. In the meantime, what’s happening with ICH and oncology patients are just two examples of how hospitalists’ scope of practice is constantly changing.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor & Publisher