Published in the March 2012 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
You might have noticed that this month’s cover story focuses on a topic we’ve covered before: unit-based staffing, also known as geographic rounding or localization.
We’re revisiting the story again for a couple of reasons. For one, hospitalist groups that have embraced unit-based staffing have had some success in working out the kinks.
Hospitalists have found that geographic rounding gives an essential boost to teamwork, making multidisciplinary rounds both more possible and more efficient. That sense of teamwork can give hospitalists a sense of collegiality and ownership, two factors that go a long way toward improving professional satisfaction.
Another reason this story remains important is that hospitalists aren’t the only ones embracing unit-based staffing. Increasingly, hospital administrators are pushing hospitalist groups to move to geographic localization. They hope that by clustering hospitalists’ patients more tightly, they’ll lower length of stay and reduce readmissions.
But rolling out “and maintaining “unit-based staffing isn’t easy. Hospitalists find that they may have to fight to put patients in specific units, particularly when the hospital is trying to move patients out of the ED as quickly as possible.
However, hospitalists are learning how to overcome these obstacles, and some are seeing their success replicated in other parts of the hospital. One hospitalist reported that his group had so much success with unit-based staffing that several other specialties moved to “regionalize” their patients in the hospital as well.
Another hospitalist reported that within 15 months of her program implementing unit-based staffing and multidisciplinary rounds, such rounds had become the norm throughout every hospital unit and across every specialty.
This isn’t the first time that an initiative spearheaded by hospitalists has caught on with the rest of the hospital. But it is an excellent example of the growing influence of the specialty.
Editor & Publisher