“Not that past reports had major flaws, but this version is more authoritative, reflecting an intentional effort by our Practice Analysis Committee to bring in more participants from key groups,” he said.
The biennial report has been around long enough to achieve brand recognition in the field as the most authoritative source of information regarding hospitalist practice, he added. “We worked hard this year to balance the participants, with more of our responses than in the past coming from multi-hospital groups, whether 4 to 5 sites, or 20 to 30.”
Surveys were conducted online in January and February of 2018 in response to invitations mailed and emailed to targeted hospital medicine group leaders. A total of 569 groups completed the survey, representing 8,889 hospitalist FTEs, approximately 16% of the total hospitalist workforce. Responses were presented in several categories, including by size of program, region and employment model. Groups that care for adults only represented 87.9% of the surveys, while groups that care for children only were 6.7% and groups that care for both adults and children were 5.4%.
“This survey doesn’t tell us what should be best practice in hospital medicine,” Dr. White said, only what is actual current practice. He uses it in his own health system to not only contextualize and justify his group’s performance metrics for hospital administrators – relative to national and categorical averages – but also to see if the direction his group is following is consistent with what’s going on in the larger field.
“These data offer a very powerful resource regarding the trends in hospital medicine,” said Romil Chadha, MD, MPH, FACP, SFHM, associate division chief for operations in the division of hospital medicine at the University of Kentucky and UK Healthcare, Lexington. “It is my repository of data to go before my administrators for decisions that need to be made or to pilot new programs.”
Dr. Chadha also uses the data to help answer compensation, scheduling, and support questions from his group’s members.
Thomas McIlraith, MD, immediate past chairman of the hospital medicine department at Mercy Medical Group, Sacramento, Calif., said the report’s value is that it allows comparisons of salaries in different settings, and to see, for example, how night staffing is structured. “A lot of leaders I spoke to at SHM’s 2018 Leadership Academy in Vancouver were saying they didn’t feel up to parity with the national standards. You can use the report to look at the state of hospital medicine nationally and make comparisons,” he said.
Calls for more productivity
Roberta Himebaugh, MBA, SFHM, senior vice president of acute care services for the national hospitalist management company TeamHealth, and cochair of the SHM Practice Administrators Special Interest Group, said her company’s clients have traditionally asked for greater productivity from their hospitalist contracts as a way to decrease overall costs. Some markets are starting to see a change in that approach, she noted.