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  1. Nov 2018
    1. Canada is the first case of the expansion of hospital medicine beyond the United States, and as of 2008, Canada had more than 100 hospital medicine programs.7 Currently, the estimated number of hospitalists in Canada has increased to ~3,000 (Colleen Savage, Administrator, Canadian SHM, personal communication, December 6, 2017). Yousef and Maslowski describe several drivers for the development of the hospitalist model, which are related to physicians, patients, and systems. Work–life balance and the desire for non-hospital work among primary care providers (PCPs) were leading physician factors. Two major patient-related factors were the increasing age and complexity of patients and the increasing number of “unattached” patients. Unattached patients are those who either do not have a PCP or their PCP does not have admitting hospital privileges. System drivers included PCP shortages, reduction in resident duty hours, higher need for health system efficiency, and cost reduction. Further, increasing health system complexity led to PCPs withdrawing from hospital care.7
    1. “It doesn’t just help make hospitalists work better. It makes nursing better. It makes surgeons better. It makes pharmacy better.”
    2. In the last 20 years, HM and technology have drastically changed the hospital landscape. But was HM pushed along by generational advances in computing power, smart devices in the shape of phones and tablets, and the software that powered those machines? Or was technology spurred on by having people it could serve directly in the hospital, as opposed to the traditionally fragmented system that preceded HM? “Bob [Wachter] and others used to joke that the only people that actually understand the computer system are the hospitalists,” Dr. Goldman notes. “Chicken or the egg, right?” adds Dr. Merlino of Press Ganey. “Technology is an enabler that helps providers deliver better care. I think healthcare quality in general has been helped by both.

      Chicken or the egg? Technological advances were tailored for specific needs in accordance with growth of hospitalist model

    3. “This has all been an economic move,” she says. “People sort of forget that, I think. It was discovered by some of the HMOs on the West Coast, and it was really not the HMOs, it was the medical groups that were taking risks—economic risks for their group of patients—that figured out if they sent … primary-care people to the hospital and they assigned them on a rotation of a week at a time, that they can bring down the LOS in the hospital. “That meant more money in their own pockets because the medical group was taking the risk.” Once hospitalists set up practice in a hospital, C-suite administrators quickly saw them gaining patient share and began realizing that they could be partners. “They woke up one day, and just like that, they pay attention to how many cases the orthopedist does,” she says. “[They said], ‘Oh, Dr. Smith did 10 cases last week, he did 10 cases this week, then he did no cases or he did two cases. … They started to come to the hospitalists and say, ‘Look, you’re controlling X% of my patients a day. We’re having a length of stay problem; we’re having an early-discharge problem.’ Whatever it was, they were looking for partners to try to solve these issues.” And when hospitalists grew in number again as the model continued to take hold and blossom as an effective care-delivery method, hospitalists again were turned to as partners. “Once you get to that point, that you’re seeing enough patients and you’re enough of a movement,” Dr. Gorman says, “you get asked to be on the pharmacy committee and this committee, and chairman of the medical staff, and all those sort of things, and those evolve over time.”
    4. Hospitalists were seen as people to lead the charge for safety because they were already taking care of patients, already focused on reducing LOS and improving care delivery—and never to be underestimated, they were omnipresent, Dr. Gandhi says of her experience with hospitalists around 2000 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “At least where I was, hospitalists truly were leaders in the quality and safety space, and it was just a really good fit for the kind of mindset and personality of a hospitalist because they’re very much … integrators of care across hospitals,” she says. “They interface with so many different areas of the hospital and then try to make all of that work better.”

      role of hospitalists in safety and quality

    5. “When the IOM report came out, it gave us a focus and a language that we didn’t have before,” says Dr. Wachter, who served as president of SHM’s Board of Directors and to this day lectures at SHM annual meetings. “But I think the general sensibility that hospitalists are about improving quality and safety and patients’ experience and efficiency—I think that was baked in from the start.”
    6. “My feeling at the time was this was a good idea,” Dr. Wachter says. “The trend toward our system being pushed to deliver better, more efficient care was going to be enduring, and the old model of the primary-care doc being your hospital doc … couldn’t possibly achieve the goal of producing the highest value.”

      How can care be made further efficient? E.g., integration, cost-sharing, payment-sharing, parent partners, nurse partners

    7. That type of optimism permeated nascent hospitalist groups. But it was time to start proving the anecdotal stories. Nearly two years to the day after the Wachter/Goldman paper published, a team led by Herbert Diamond, MD, published “The Effect of Full-Time Faculty Hospitalists on the Efficiency of Care at a Community Teaching Hospital” in the Annals of Internal Medicine.1 It was among the first reports to show evidence that hospitalists improved care
    8. Dr. Merlino says he’s proud of the specialists who rotated through the hospital rooms of AIDS patients. But so many disparate doctors with no “quarterback” to manage the process holistically meant consistency in treatment was generally lacking