how many patients should a hospitalist see?

taken from today’s hospitalist => What’s the ideal number of patient’s to see?

masonic is about 12-15.  with resident coverage for all tele and icu patients, it helps.  we’ll see what happens come september.

an excerpt:

Panel member David Friar, MD, who is president of Hospitalists of Northwest Michigan in Traverse City, Mich., said he thinks he knows why the question of what’s the right patient load is so ubiquitous: In hospital medicine, it’s probably the easiest metric to track.

“It’s the one metric that people focus on,” Dr. Friar said. “Unfortunately, it’s also dangerously easy to benchmark.”

It’s dangerous because many different factors— which are just as important as patient load—go into the productivity equation. Scope of practice is obviously a huge factor. Physicians who don’t provide critical care or run codes can comfortably see more patients.

Patient mix is another factor. Panel member M. A. Williams, MD, who is executive director for business development for Sound Inpatient Physicians, a national hospitalist group, said hospitalists in his Denver group average between 2,000 and 2,500 patient encounters per year. However, one colleague—who works in the same group in the same hospital—annually accounts for about 5,000 patient encounters.

That’s because, Dr. Williams explained, the colleague spends his time exclusively comanaging orthopedic patients and does no call or ICU coverage. “He literally has to walk no more than 100 yards in a day,” he said, “to see every postop knee and hip.”

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