Monday, January 19, 2009

Does A Good EMR Erase Some Of The Benfits Of Hospitalists?

Although I don't personally use hospitalists I am a supporter. To internists who don't want to leave the office they are indispensable. In today's fast paced ever changing health care scene hospitalists are a bastion of stability and bring excellent care to almost any system.

To put it simply....hospitalists give efficient, timely care, in a cost effective manner. In fact it has been this cost efficiency (as well as the benefits to PCP's) that has been trumpeted as the battle cry to advance hospitalist programs.

But as time goes by the data are starting to illustrate that maybe the cost savings aren't as great as we once thought. That doesn't negate the force of the movement. After all there are other efficiencies besides economic. But it does make you wonder. Can a good EMR level the playing field a little bit.

For instance. In my current hospital system we use a highly effective EMR called EPIC. Using this system I round early in the morning. When I arrive at my office I open up the EMR from the Internet. As I am doing my morning paperwork I also scan vitals and labs right as they come back from the laboratory. As the day progresses the regular commotion begins. Between seeing outpatients I review xrays, consultant notes, and even discharge patients right from the comfort of my office.

It is safe to say I am more in touch with what is going on with my patients throughout the day then I ever was previously...even as a hospitalist. Even though I may be deluged with outpatients, I only have a few people in house at a time so it is easy to keep on top of them.

I don't know for sure but I suspect my length of stay and cost of care data is right on par with our hospitalists.

As an outpatient primary care doctor I feel more connected to my inpatients then ever. And I wouldn't have it any other way!

1 comment:

tracy said...

i think it is really great that there are still some Primary Care Physicans who actually see their own patients in the hospital. Hats off to you, Dr. Jordan, now i admire you even more!