Tackling Physician Burnout
Small hospitals often have specific and unique struggles. One of these is the increased burden on physicians. With a smaller staff, medical providers in small hospitals are frequently asked to wear many hats and provide care in multiple settings. However, this can lead to burnout and challenges with physician retention. Employing hospitalists may be the answer to boosting physician experience and retention in the emergency department.
What is a hospitalist?
Hospitalists are physicians who specialize in treating patients who are admitted to the hospital. Often, these providers are internal medicine physicians. However, a hospitalist can come from a variety of other specialties, like nephrology, pulmonology, or critical care. Hospitalists are responsible for treating and coordinating the care of patients who are hospitalized.
Rounding during day and night
In many small hospitals, emergency department rounding falls to primary care physicians. Often, these primary care providers have already spent a full day providing care in an outpatient setting. Employing hospitalists can help reduce this strain on primary care doctors and help with a physician’s work and life balance.
Stretching resources thin
Many smaller hospitals struggle to find adequate resources. Providing efficient and cost-effective care can be a challenge. Many times, physicians are asked to wear many hats. Employing hospitalists can help. These physicians are explicitly expecting to wear many hats, providing care in the emergency department, outpatient setting, and in clinics or physician offices.
What does the research say?
In the past, hospitalists have worked more in urban settings. However, the importance of the hospitalist in the rural hospital is growing. In one study, researchers analyzed 400 rural hospitals that had employed hospitalists. The result was that employing hospitalists improved efficiency, quality of care, and physician retention. This improvement in physician retention was due to the reduced burden on primary care providers. These physicians were able to focus solely on the outpatient clinical practice while hospitalists were responsible for rounding in the emergency department.
A clear point of contact
An added benefit of employing hospitalists is the reduced strain on all other specialists in the emergency room setting. Hospitalists serve as a clear point of contact for families and patients. These physicians also help coordinate referrals into other specialties, as needed. This coordination of care not only increases efficiency but also saves time for physicians of different specialties.
Hospitalists save time and money
While many small hospitals hesitate to hire more staff, at the end of the day, hospitalists save time and money. These specialists reduce strain on other providers and decrease physician burnout. Research has also shown that hospitalists improve coordination of care and efficiency. This impact adds up to shorter lengths of stay and cost savings. Start the conversation today about how adding hospitalists to the emergency department setting can help improve the quality of care.