In caring exclusively for inpatients, hospitalists are expected to perform hospital procedures. The type and frequency of procedures they perform are not well characterized.
To determine which procedures hospitalists perform; to compare procedures performed by hospitalists and non-hospitalists; and to describe factors associated with hospitalists performing inpatient procedures.
National sample of general internist members of the American College of Physicians.
We characterized respondents to a national survey of general internists as hospitalists and non-hospitalists based on time-activity criteria. We compared hospitalists and non-hospitalists in relation to how many SHM core procedures they performed. Analyses explored whether hospitalists’ demographic characteristics, practice setting, and income structure influenced the performance of procedures.
Of 1,059 respondents, 175 were classified as “hospitalists”. Eleven percent of hospitalists performed all 9 core procedures compared with 3% of non-hospitalists. Hospitalists also reported higher procedural volumes in the previous year for 7 of the 9 procedures, including lumbar puncture (median of 5 by hospitalists vs. 2 for non-hospitalists), abdominal paracentesis (5 vs. 2), thoracenteses (5 vs. 2) and central line placement (5.5 vs. 3). Performing a greater variety of core procedures was associated with total time in patient care, but not time in hospital care, year of medical school graduation, practice location, or income structure. Multivariate analysis found no independent association between demographic factors and performing all 9 core procedures.
Hospitalists perform inpatient procedures more often and at higher volumes than non-hospitalists. Yet many do not perform procedures that are designated as hospitalist “core competencies.”