Practice Management

VIP services linked to unnecessary care


Clinical Question: Does “very important person” (VIP) status impact physician decision making and lead to unnecessary care?

Background: In many centers, VIP patients avail VIP services, which involve extra services beyond the standard of care. No prior studies assess the impact of such VIP services on these patients.

Study Design: A qualitative multi-site case study.

Setting: Centers associated with the Hospital Medicine Reengineering Network (HOMERuN).

Synopsis: Of the 160 hospitalists across eight sites, 45% felt that VIP services were present at their hospital. These patients often had personal ties with the hospital. The majority of hospitalists (78%) felt VIP patients received similar medical care, compared with non-VIP patients. However, 63% felt pressured by VIP patients or families to order unnecessary tests. Moreover, 36% perceived pressure from hospital administration to comply with VIP patient wishes. Most hospitalists (56%) reported being more likely to comply with requests from VIP patients than from other patients.

The survey questions were not validated, so the responses might not reflect actual perceptions of hospitalists. These results are purely qualitative, so the burden of unnecessary care cannot be quantified.

Bottom Line: Most hospitalists perceive VIP services to lead to pressure to deliver unnecessary care.

Citation: Allen-Dicker J, Auerbach A, Herzig SJ. Perceived Safety and Value of Inpatient “Very Important Person” Services. J Hosp Med. 2017 Mar;12(3):177-179.

Dr. Suman is clinical instructor of medicine in the University of Kentucky division of hospital medicine.

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