Attending Physicians Report Typical Inpatient Census Regularly Exceeds Safe Levels

February 6, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Forty percent of attending physicians reported that their typical inpatient census exceeded safe levels at least monthly, according to the results of a study published online January 28, 2013, in JAMA Internal Medicine. Furthermore, the study, which used survey responses from 506 self-identified hospitalists, found that 36% reported that a frequency exceeding safe levels occurred more often than once per week. Nearly 25% of the surveyed hospitalists reported that excess workload adversely impacted patient outcomes by preventing full discussion of treatment options and worsening patient satisfaction. In addition, 22% reported that they have ordered potentially unnecessary tests, procedures, or consults because of not having adequate time to evaluate patients in person, and more than 20% reported that their average workload likely contributed to patient transfers, morbidity, or possibly even mortality.

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