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Smart growth

November 2004

Published in the November 2004 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

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

While there’s 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, you’ll 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?

It’s a question that seems to be on the minds of hospitalists everywhere. The problem, as one hospitalist in this month’s 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 they’re looking to their hospitalist services for some help.

In many ways, it’s a great problem to have. Hospitalists are the hot new specialty, and the inpatient world is watching to see whether you’re up to the challenge.

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

You can’t do it all at once, however. That’s why veteran hospitalists say you need to choose carefully and match new initiatives to both your hospital’s–and your program’s–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 institution’s leadership.

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

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor and Publisher
Today’s Hospitalist