Growing Focus on Hospital Metrics Is Changing the Role of Hospital Physicians Today

Rounding with nurses, participating in multidisciplinary teams, and other approaches to improve ALOS, readmit rates to be discussed at Eagle's recruiting booth at SHM Annual Meeting

Mar 08, 2016, 10:50 ET from Eagle Hospital Physicians

SAN DIEGO, March 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The focus on metrics is more intense in hospital medicine than ever before, and is changing the role of physicians on hospital clinical teams, including a greater focus on organizational skills and teamwork, and higher expectations regarding working closely with multidisciplinary teams.

"In hospital medicine's early years, providing inpatient coverage and care was our sole focus," said Talbot "Mac" McCormick, M.D., President and CEO of Eagle Hospital Physicians, a physician-led hospitalist management firm for hospitals across the U.S. "Today's hospitalists are faced with many outcome expectations and metrics that require both clinical acumen, strong organizational skills, and teamwork, which makes the role of the hospital clinician more challenging than ever. The workday for full-time hospital physicians is much more collaborative than it was just a few years ago."

Eagle to discuss trend at SHM Meeting

At Booth 515 at the Society of Hospital Medicine's annual meeting in San Diego March 6-9, 2016, members of the Eagle team will discuss this trend and offer tips on how physicians can meet a new set of challenges.

"The industry is still feeling the shock waves from Medicare's reimbursement reductions for 2,610 hospitals in fiscal 2015 for excessive 30-day readmit rates," Dr. McCormick said.  "The threat of being similarly penalized has brought a major shift in mindset to hospital leaders. The focus on metrics—not just readmit rates but also ALOS, HCAHPS scores, ED throughput and other benchmarks—is more intense than ever before, and affects all members of the clinical team."

Physicians must be team players

As an example, Dr. McCormick said many hospital physicians now do rounding with nurses as part of a team, and also might expect a meeting each morning with multidisciplinary teams that include nurse directors, case managers, and pharmacists. "The team approach is vital as hospitals work to reduce length of stay and readmission rates," Dr. McCormick said. "Many of the hospitalist programs we work with are having real success with these efforts, avoiding Medicare penalties for high readmit rates, and the high costs of above-average ALOS rates."

According to Dr. McCormick, improving HCAHPS scores is a more complicated endeavor and involves many diverse approaches. "You probably won't move the needle by simply offering a class for physicians on improving practice techniques," he said. "By the same token, a few additional positive scores from patients can greatly impact a hospital's HCAHPS percentile. Through decades of experience, we've learned that timeliness in ED throughput and flow of care can set the stage for a good patient experience in the hospital. So can stabilization of staff, and consistency of care."

A smoother transition for new physicians

He cited an example of an Illinois hospital whose hospitalist program is managed by Eagle Hospital Physicians. "Nurse-physician rounding has been successful there because patients see a team at work. It improves their confidence in the health care team, and that translates into a better patient experience, and greater satisfaction with the hospital."

The best news is that these approaches make it easier for a new physician to make a smooth transition to a clinical team. "The focus on physicians working more closely with nurses and other members of the healthcare team helps physicians to adjust quickly to a new job, so there are benefits all around," said Dr. McCormick. "We look forward to discussing the changing landscape for hospitalist with physicians attending the SHM meeting."

Eagle University helps with the transition

For new physicians, practicing physicians, and residents who are interested in joining a hospitalist team, Eagle offers Eagle University, a structured introductory program that provides information on what to expect from a hospitalist career.

As part of Eagle U, the company guides newcomers through the recruiting process at hospitals that might be a good fit for candidates. "Eagle U helps ease anxiety and lays the groundwork for a successful hospitalist career," said Dr. McCormick. "We also provide intensive training and orientation to new recruits. Accurate coding, hand-off policies, patient procedures, regulatory compliance, co-management expectations—these and other topics are covered so new recruits are at ease and knowledgeable on day one of their new assignment."

For residents, who would like more information on finding the right hospital job, see Eagle's An Insider's Guide for Physicians in Residency Programs. In addition, Eagle's website has more information about current job opportunities.

About EHP

EHP supports hospitalist programs in hospitals across the U.S. Led by physicians who are pioneers in the hospitalist movement, the company delivers Clinical Performance Management (CPM) services to in-house hospitalist programs, telemedicine programs, physician recruitment and support services, and turnkey hospitalist programs. With years of experience in hospital leadership and hundreds of successful client engagements, EHP shares its expertise through tailored solutions that meet the evolving needs of hospitals today. For more information, visit www.eaglehospitalphysicians.com.

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SOURCE Eagle Hospital Physicians