What does the ideal hospitalist team look like? Several stories in this month’s issue try to answer that question by looking at how hospitalist groups are fine-tuning their teams.
One story looks at a hospitalist program that has embedded a pharmacist into the group. What makes this initiative unique is that the group works at a small (220-bed) hospital that has only two clinical pharmacists on staff.
That pharmacist speeds up care and helps hospitalists function more efficiently. Not only are dosage questions answered quickly, but the pharmacist talks to patients during rounds and tunes into physicians’ complaints, coming up with solutions that improve workflow and cost effectiveness.
In our commentary, we look at another group that has created a new team to manage Medicare Advantage patients. A hospitalist meets weekly with that team, which includes inpatient, outpatient and post-acute personnel. As part of its mission to reduce readmissions, the team has made it a priority for hospitalists to spend more time with patients and their families.
Finally, our cover story looks at yet another approach being tried to create more cohesive teams. By holding bedside rounds, hospitalist groups hope to get patients and family members on the same page as their clinicians. But another big goal is to make sure team members stay on the same page as well.
Several groups we talked to have had good success with bedside rounds, citing reductions in mortality and better patient satisfaction scores. But our story also includes critics who complain that these rounds slow everyone down and don’t necessarily advance patient care.
Whatever their approach, hospitalists seem to realize that teams need to be stronger. As hospital budgets tighten—and with potential cuts to federal spending in health care looming—high-functioning teams may be more important than ever.
Editor & Publisher