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Background and objectives: Inpatient pediatric care is increasingly provided by pediatric hospitalists. This, in addition to changes in resident duty hour restrictions, has led to the creation of new models of care for inpatient pediatric patients. The objective of this study was to compare traditional outcome measures between a pediatric hospitalist-only service and a more traditional academic service in which care was provided by pediatric hospitalists, residents, and medical students. Attending physicians on the hospitalist-only service had an average of 1.7 years of post-residency experience compared to an average 16 years of experience for those working on the traditional academic service.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study (hospitalist-only v. teaching service) used electronic medical records data of patients (n=1,059) admitted to a quaternary care, academic, children’s hospital in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with diagnoses of bronchiolitis, viral syndrome, and gastroenteritis from July 2011 to June 2014. Primary outcome measures included length of stay, hospital costs, and readmission rates.
Results: Patients with a diagnosis of bronchiolitis admitted to the hospitalist-only service had a significantly higher severity-of-illness-score than those admitted to the teaching service. A decreased length of stay and lower hospital costs were seen for patients admitted to the hospitalist-only service; however, these differences did not reach a level of statistical significance.
Conclusion: There were no statistically significant differences in the outcome measures of patients with common pediatric illnesses admitted to a hospitalist-only versus a teaching hospitalist service. The model of a hospitalist-only service staffed by recent residency graduates may provide an efficient and effective model of care as patients admitted to this service had similar outcome measures to those patients cared for by more-experienced attending physicians.