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  1. Nov 2018
    1. So what now? For all the talk of SHM’s success, HM’s positive impacts, and the specialty’s rocket growth trajectory, the work isn’t done, industry leaders say. Hospitalists are not just working toward a more valuable delivery of care, they’re also increasingly viewed as leaders of projects all around the hospital because, well, they are always there, according to Dr. Gandhi. “Hospitalists really are a leader in the hospital around quality and safety issues because they are there on the wards all the time,” she says. “They really have an interest in being the physician champions around various initiatives, so [in my hospital tenures] I partnered with many of my hospitalist colleagues on ways to improve care, such as test-result management, medication reconciliation, and similar efforts. We often would establish multidisciplinary committees to work on things, and almost always there was a hospitalist who was chairing or co-chairing or participating very actively in that group.”
    2. “If we can’t build what I think of as a pyramid of care with one doctor and many, many other people supporting a broad group of patients, I don’t think we’re going to be able to find the scale to take care of the aging population that’s coming at us,” she says. Caring for patients once they are discharged means including home nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, dietitians, hired caregivers, and others in the process, Dr. Gorman says. But that doesn’t mean overburdening the wrong people with the wrong tasks. The same way no one would think to allow a social worker to prescribe medication is the same way that a hospitalist shouldn’t be the one checking up on a patient to make sure there is food in that person’s fridge. And while the hospitalist can work in concert with others and run many things from the hospital, maybe hospital-based physicians aren’t always the best physicians for the task. “There are certain things that only the doctor can do, of course, but there are a lot more things that somebody else can do,” Dr. Gorman says, adding, “some of the times, you’re going to need the physician, it’s going to be escalated to a medication change, but sometimes maybe you need to escalate to a dietary visit or you need to escalate to three physical therapy visits. “The nitty-gritty of taking care of people outside of the hospital is so complex and problematic, and most of the solutions are not really medical, but you need the medical part of the dynamic. So rather [than a hospitalist running cases], it’s a super-talented social worker, nurse, or physical therapist. I don’t know, but somebody who can make sure that all of that works and it’s a process that can be leveraged.” Whoever it is, the gravitation beyond the walls of the hospital has been tied to a growing sea change in how healthcare will compensate providers. Medicare has been migrating from fee-for-service to payments based on the totality of care for decades. The names change, of course. In the early 1980s, it was an “inpatient prospective payment system.”
    3. Hospitalists are often referred to as the quarterbacks of the hospital. But even the best QB needs a good team to succeed. For HMGs, that roster increasingly includes nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).