OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between the hospitalist consultant model of care and both length of hospital stay (LOS) and hospital cost for patients undergoing hip fracture surgery. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively studied 118 consecutive patients admitted with hip fracture (diagnosis related groups 73.35 and 81.52) between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2002, at a community-based academic medical center. For each patient, consultations foe preoperative medical evaluation and management of postoperative complications were performed by a hospitalist or a traditional medical consultant (non-hospitalist). We defined "hospitalist" as dedicated hospital-based physicians who provide their maximum professional time in inpatient health care delivery and wise are completely free of outpatient responsibilities. Time to consultation (TTC), time to surgery (TTS), LOS, and total hospital costs were determined for each patient by review of the medical records and were compared between hospitalist and nonhospitalist consultants. RESULTS: Both TTC and TTS were significantly lower for hospitalist patients (P<.001 and P=.004, respectively). Although not statistically significant, cost and LOS also were lower for patients receiving hospitalist care. In the hospitalist group, median cost was an estimated $1777 less, and median LOS was 1 day less than in the nonhospitalist group. CONCLUSION: Hospitalist involvement in the medical management of patients undergoing hip fracture surgery may be associated with decreases in TTC, TTS, LOS, and total hospital cost. The results of this study slave implications for consultative medical care of patients undergoing urgent surgery and their health outcomes.
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