Although there isn’t a consensus about what constitutes a full-time hospitalist, it is clear that they cover the vast majority (85%) of HMG staff hours. Part-time hospitalists are responsible for 10% of hospitalist staff hours, and “casual” hospitalists—temporary hospitalists or moonlighters—make up the remaining 5%.
Part-time hospitalists share the same responsibilities as their full-time colleagues, according to the report. More than 70% of HMG leaders said their part-time staff is deployed to cover the same shifts and responsibilities as full-time staff. Many HMGs use part-time staff to cover night and weekend shifts.
Trend Today, Initiative Tomorrow
Taken together, SHM’s bi-annual survey and Focused Survey have begun to reveal some of the most prevalent trends within the specialty, including low turnover and a specialty-wide QI emphasis. However, Flores sees room for additional research in the near future.
“There is a lot more to learn about the nature of hospitalists’ involvement in organizational quality initiatives and what benefits that involvement is delivering to their organizations,” she says. “The survey suggests some areas, particularly in the quality arena, where SHM can develop additional programs and services to support hospitalists and the work they do.”
The 10-page 2008-2009 Focused Survey report is available at www.hospitalmedicine.org/shmstore. TH
Brendon Shank is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.