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Hospitalist Care Linked to Shorter Hospital Stays

Average patient stays are nearly one day less with hospitalist care than with conventional care

MONDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalized patients who are under the care of a hospital-based general physician -- or hospitalist -- may have shorter stays than those under conventional hospital care, according to the results of a study in the Sept. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

William N. Southern, M.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues reviewed 2002-2004 data on 9,037 discharges from a teaching hospital, including 2,913 (32.2 percent) patients who were cared for by hospitalist teams and 6,124 (67.8 percent) who were cared for by non-hospitalist teams.

The researchers found that the average length of stay was significantly shorter in the hospitalist group than in the non-hospitalist group (5.01 days versus 5.87 days). They also found no significant group differences in rates of hospital readmission or mortality rates.

"We identified several patient groups in whom this association was particularly strong: patients who require close clinical monitoring, those in whom real-time adjustment of therapy is critical, those with high overall acuity, and those in whom complex discharge planning is necessary," the authors conclude.

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