One of the toughest jobs of group management is teasing out the trends that will define HM in the future. In the past few years, hospitalist leaders have tried to forecast whether the growth in compensation would slow or even recede. Instead, median compensation nationwide climbed 17.7% between 2010 and 2014, telling
Dr. Landis that a specialty barely 20 years old still has room to grow.
“There’s a lot at stake here,” he says. “Our patients’ lives are at stake. A lot of our country’s resources are going into healthcare, and the hospital is a very expensive place to receive care, so we want to be delivering the best value.
“We’ve got to do a better job, The information [in the report] is there to help hospital medicine groups and hospitalists.”
IPC’s Taylor adds that trying to understand trends begins with noticing shifts before they become industry standards. He’s tracking two of those right now.
“We’re now seeing hospital stipends starting to be examined by the hospitals,” he says, noting that healthcare executives are asking if this is “a rational amount of money to be paying to support a program?
“We’re [also] starting to see a reversal in the trend of hospitals employing their own hospitalists, which gained quite a bit of steam about five years ago, but it seemed to start running out of steam. Now, from what we are seeing in the marketplace, it appears to be tipping back the other way, particularly with hospitals that have done the math, and they’re beginning to outsource.”
Whether those early warning signs become full-blown trends or not, Taylor says the best management approach is to measure as much information as possible moving forward. Having the SOHM’s baseline every other year is another piece of that information pie.
“It’s interesting data, but I think it’s going to be more interesting to me to see how that data looks three to four years from now, [to understand] if the trends we see or we believe we see beginning, continue,” he adds. “It will be interesting to see the impact of those two forces on the data.”—RQ