Like the community organizations that must increase outreach efforts to formerly disenfranchised healthcare consumers, the administrators who fulfill the law’s mandates, and citizens who will be comparing new health plans, hospitalists may find themselves working harder once the law is implemented. The April legislation “elevates the stakes for delivering effective, quality inpatient care,” says Dr. Allison. “I don’t want to over-inflate our importance, but I do think in a system where so many of our healthcare dollars are expended on the inpatient side, we’ve got to be extremely conscious of what we do.” This may mean shifting hospitalists’ implicit skills into the explicit realm, he says: “For instance, everyone talks about guidelines and how helpful they are, but we don’t do a good enough job when it comes to using them. We need to do better with vaccination, with discharge instructions, and with communicating and coordinating care.
“I think the care coordination piece is going to be the key to success,” concludes Dr. Allison. “I think we need to take what we do now, but do more of it, and do a better job of it. That is something that will make a tough job even tougher. But I think if we fail in this, the whole effort may collapse.” TH
Gretchen Henkel is coauthor of Marketing Your Clinical Practice—Ethically, Effectively, Economically.
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