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What effect does physician "profiling" have on inpatient physician satisfaction and hospital length of stay?

Author(s): Zemencuk Judith | Hofer Timothy | Hayward Rodney | Moseley Richard | Saint Sanjay

Journal: BMC Health Services Research
ISSN 1472-6963

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 45;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background 2002 marked the first time that the rate of hospital spending in the United States outpaced the overall health care spending rate of growth since 1991. As hospital spending continues to grow and as reimbursement for hospital expenses has moved towards the prospective payment system, there is still increasing pressure to reduce costs. Hospitals have a major incentive to decrease resource utilization, including hospital length of stay. We evaluated whether physician profiling affects physician satisfaction and hospital length of stay, and assessed physicians' views concerning hospital cost containment and the quality of care they provide. Methods To determine if physician profiling affects hospital length of stay and/or physician satisfaction, we used quasi-experimental with before-versus-after and intervention-versus-control comparisons of length of stay data collected at an intervention and six control hospitals. Intervention hospital physicians were informed their length of stay would be compared to their peers and were given a questionnaire assessing their experience. Results Nearly half of attending pre-profiled physicians felt negative about the possibility of being profiled, while less than one-third of profiled physicians reported feeling negative about having been profiled. Nearly all physicians greatly enjoyed their ward month. Length of stay at the profiled site decreased by an additional 1/3 of a day in the profiling year, compared to the non-profiled sites (p < 0.001). Conclusion A relatively non-instrusive profiling intervention modestly reduced length of stay without adversely affecting physician satisfaction.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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