Home From The Editor New opportunities to stay flexible

New opportunities to stay flexible

December 2008

ONE OF THE THINGS I’VE ALWAYS ADMIRED about hospitalists is that as a group, they’ve proven themselves to be remarkably flexible. A good example can be found in this month’s cover story, which looks at hospitalists working in cancer centers. These hospitalists have put aside more traditional views of success “curing patients “to integrate themselves into a different kind of team. That’s an approach that isn’t found in every medical specialty.

That’s good news, because hospitalists are going to need a huge dose of flexibility if they’re going to deal with the wave of patient satisfaction surveys that’s permeating hospitals. As our story on page 26 explains, hospital administrators are feeling the heat from these surveys, and they’re kicking that pressure right down the line to hospitalists.

You may argue “rightly so “that these surveys don’t give you the credit you deserve, but the reality is that most hospital administrators are looking for results, not complaints. And while other physicians are dealing with these same issues, they don’t spend nearly as much time in the hospital, so they have less to gain “or lose “from these surveys.

To score well on satisfaction surveys, some hospitalists will need do little more than change how they introduce themselves to patients. Others, however, may need to overhaul parts of their practice to survive the scrutiny that patient satisfaction surveys bring.

Either way, the question remains whether hospitalists will bring the same get-it-done attitude to being graded that they’ve brought to so many other hospital initiatives. I suspect the answer will be yes, but it promises to be a challenging task, even for a specialty that’s known for its flexibility.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor and Publisher