Attitudes of family physicians regarding the use of hospitalist physicians for inpatient care: a pilot study
Traditionally, family practice physicians have personally managed the care of their hospitalized patients. The changing healthcare marketplace, however, is stimulating changes in primary care physician practice. One change is the increased utilization of a new physician specialist known as the “hospitalist” to manage hospital inpatient care. The purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes of family physicians regarding the utilization of hospitalists for inpatient care, including characteristics such as the frequency of family practitioners use of hospitalists, their level of satisfaction with the care provided by the hospitalists and the degree to which increased utilization of hospitalists has affected their professional practice and their personal life. Methods: All physicians (222) in Sedgwick County, KS designated as family physicians were included in the study population. Results: There was a 55.9% return of the surveys mailed. A majority of respondents (76.7%) utilize hospitalists to manage the care of their hospitalized patients. Of the family physicians that do not utilize hospitalists, 36.3% follow their own patients in the hospital. The majority of respondents (77.3%) agree that utilizing hospitalists to manage in-patient care increases their productivity and 69.4% reported that hospitalists improve the quality of care provided. The majority of family physicians (81.6%) agreed that communication with hospitalists about inpatient care is timely and effective. A significant 88.7% of family physicians utilizing hospitalists agree that hospitalists allow them to better manage their time, both personal and professional. No significant relationships were found between size of practice, years in practice, number of patients seen in an average week, and the use of hospitalists for inpatient care. Conclusion: Family physicians in Sedgwick County, KS generally agree v that patients are satisfied with the care they receive from hospitalists; hospitalists increase their productivity; they have more personal and professional time when they use hospitalists; and communication about their hospitalized patients is timely and effective. The number of family physicians in Sedgwick County, KS that utilize hospitalist physicians to manage the care of their inpatients is significantly higher than previously published statistics. In addition, indicators of satisfaction are higher than other published studies.
A project presented to the Department of Physician Assistant of Wichita State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Physician Assistant.
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