Impact on Hospitalist Workload
“I always have to see more patients than other hospitalists around here.”
“I have to run all over the hospital rounding on patients on different floors and in different towers.”
“My patients are always so complex – I wish I got the ‘easier’ patients like my colleagues!”
Do any of these complaints sound familiar? When creating rounding lists manually, it’s normal for hospitalists to feel like the lists are unfair. In fact, creating patient lists manually can actually lead to unfair workloads, without anyone intending it to. That’s because when done manually, you weigh each patient equally – Hospitalist A needs to see 15 patients today; and so does Hospitalist B. But what if nine out of the 15 are discharges? Those take longer. What if five are new admits? What if four of them are ICU patients? What if four of them are simple consult follow-ups? What if they’re on different floors or buildings? Suddenly, the workload isn’t so even anymore.
When you start to use software like our Assign software for patient assignments, you can put all these factors (and more!) into consideration, truly creating even workloads for your hospitalists. The end result? Less physician burnout and more balanced rounding lists – and you’ll end those complaints, too.
Balancing Geography vs. Continuity of Care
One of the things that can impact hospitalist workload is the need to balance geography and continuity of care. Creating patient lists manually forces you to choose between maintaining geography or maintaining continuity of care. But, when you create lists through automated tools, you can create a more optimal hybrid model of the two.
A clear way to create a balance between geographic rounding and continuity is to create a geographic region that is honored before a patient is transferred to another hospitalist. For example, if a patient moves more than two floors away or even to a different tower, that patient is then re-assigned to a hospitalist within the other geographic “bubble.” Length of stay can also be a factor to determine whom to keep on your rounding list and which patient should be reassigned to another care hospitalist. Creating a balance between the two will give your hospital the best of both worlds.
Studies have shown, if you manage continuity and workloads, you get lower LOS, lower readmission rates, and higher hospitalist satisfaction. But implementing a geographic and continuity hybrid patient assignment methodology is a difficult task to do with a manual system.
Pen and paper or spreadsheets are some of the more common ways rounding lists have been created within hospitals for some time. It’s hard to preserve both geography and continuity of care when this is the case. Some hospitals may have a better process in place than others, but manual processes will always have their issues balancing these two very important aspects of hospitalist rounding.
To be continued…
The Hidden Costs of Manual Patient Assignment eBook
Creating patients lists manually comes at a cost – for your staff and your patients. In this eBook, we’ll learn about how it costs your hospital medicine teams revenue, causes burnout, impacts patient safety; and how to solve these challenges.