Is your own MD best in the hospital? Study eyes hospitalists

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 01:21:01 AM. The old-fashioned, family doctor style of medicine could be lifesaving for elderly hospitalized patients, a big study suggests, showing benefits over a rapidly expanding alternative that has hospital-based doctors overseeing care instead. Medicare patients with common conditions including...
The old-fashioned, family doctor style of medicine could be lifesaving for elderly hospitalized patients, a big study suggests, showing benefits over a rapidly expanding alternative that has hospital-based doctors overseeing care instead. Medicare patients with common conditions including pneumonia, heart failure and urinary infections who were treated by their own primary care doctors were slightly more likely to survive after being sent home than those cared for instead by hospitalists — internists who provide care only in hospitals. While hospitalist care can shorten stays and reduce costs, the new results suggest that, for at least some patients, getting taken care of in the hospital by a doctor who knows them can have important advantages. Almost 11 percent of patients cared for by a hospitalist died within 30 days of leaving the hospital, compared with just under 9 percent of primary care patients. While that difference was small, it "was certainly a startling finding," said Dr. Jennifer Stevens, the study's lead author at Harvard Medical School. Also, among hospitalist patients, 36 percent were sent to a nursing home or other long-term care center, versus about 30 percent of primary care patients. Studies show that elderly patients who are discharged to nursing homes are less likely than others to ever return to their homes, Stevens said. Reasons for those advantages are unclear. Stevens noted that primary care doctors who know their patients' health and family...Read more
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