With Hospitalists in Charge Patients Get Faster Discharge

September 24, 2007

NEW YORK -- Inpatients cared for by full-time hospitalists were likely to be discharged almost a day sooner than those in the care of nonhospitalists, but there was no significant difference in readmission rates or mortality, researchers found.

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 -- Inpatients under the care of full-time hospitalists were likely to be discharged almost a day sooner than those in the care of non-hospitalists, but there was no significant difference in readmission rates or mortality, researchers found.

The mean length of stay for hospitalists' patients was 5.01 days versus 5.87 days for other patients (P

"A statistically significant negative linear trend toward shorter [length of stay] with increasing numbers of inpatient months" suggests, the investigators said, that hospitalist programs become even more effective in their second year of existence.

The study was limited, the authors acknowledged, by the small number of physicians involved-five hospitalists and 54 nonhospitalists-thus "an individual outlier may have had a significant effect on the outcomes."

The authors included more than 25 diagnoses in the analysis and, given that large number, they wrote, "the results of [length of stay] for specific diagnoses need to be interpreted with caution."