Improving Physician Retention And Reducing Burnout

Read Time: 4 minutesRural communities often face challenges in gaining appropriate access to healthcare. In contrast to urban areas, people living in these communities often have to drive long distances to find a hospital or emergency room. Across the country, small community hospitals help to bridge this gap and ensure that medical care is available to everyone. However, these small hospitals often face challenges with physician retention and burnout. Particularly in an emergency room setting, employing hospitalists can help improve retention and remove some of this burden.

How Hospitalists Are Changing Healthcare in Rural America

What is a hospitalist?

Hospitalists are increasingly common, particularly in rural hospitals. These board-certified physicians specialize in treating patients who are in the hospital. Most of these doctors are specialized in internal medicine, though physicians of other specialties can also choose to practice as hospitalists.

The role of hospitalists

A hospitalist is typically responsible for the coordination of a patient’s care while in the hospital. Particularly in an emergency room setting, this group often has more availability for answering family questions, communicating with other specialists, and ordering follow-up testing. Having a clear point-of-contact for patients and families has been shown to increase patient satisfaction and reduce the length of stay.

Emergency room settings

Not having hospitalists can put a large strain on other physicians within a healthcare system. Without hospitalists, the burden often falls to primary care physicians to round in emergency rooms. Primary care physicians have often already worked a full day in the clinic and being on-call for 24/7 emergency room hours can be challenging.

Healthcare in rural America

Rural hospitals are crucial to ensuring that all communities have appropriate access to healthcare. However, smaller community hospitals often lack the resources that large urban hospitals have. For example, community hospitals can lack high-end service lines that would drive profits and don’t achieve economies of scale. However, employing hospitalists can bring more convenience, efficiency, less strain on primary care groups, and shorter lengths of stay for patients.

Why consider a hospitalist?

One recent study assessed 400 rural hospitals that used hospitalists. Researchers found that these hospitals improved efficiency, quality of care, and physician retention. Using hospitalists allowed primary care physicians to focus on outpatient clinical practice. At the same time, these hospitalists served many roles, providing care both in outpatient departments and in the emergency room. Overall, there was a huge efficiency benefit in healthcare management.

Start the conversation

While rural hospitals face a unique set of challenges, hospitalists can help change the game in healthcare. These physicians have been shown to improve care coordination, efficiency, and decrease physician burnout. Start the conversation today about employing hospitalists in the emergency room. The result is that hospitals will be able to provide even more healthcare to those who need these services the most.