Patient Care

Five Ways Hospitalists Can Prevent Overextending Their Services


1. Do not feel sorry for yourself; it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Most of what is happening in medicine is outside of our control,” Dr. Nelson says. “We need to realize that our role is going to change, and we should not perceive ourselves as the low person on the totem pole.”

2. Increase “face time” with your specialist colleagues.

Join them for lunch in the physician’s lounge, call your colleagues by their first names, engage in meaningful discussions about cases, and show empathy for them and their patients. Look for opportunities to do mutual education with other services.

3. Know when to draw the line.

“HM leaders should have the skills to analyze an opportunity and assess whether their program has the staffing capacity and clinical skills to successfully deliver a requested service,” Dr. Simone says. “‘No’ is an acceptable answer, if there are clear and reasonable reasons that support that decision.”

4. Make it about the patient.

Whenever your HM service is approached about comanagement, phrase your decision within the context of ensuring patient safety and delivering quality care. In that way, Dr. Siy says, you will be on solid footing.

5. Openly promote strategic “yes” answers.

Instead of digging in their heels, HM groups can periodically examine all requests, pick one or two to begin with, then promote successful outcomes to boost the group’s value.

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