Little is known about the link between hospitalists and performance on hospital-level quality indicators.
From October 1, 2005, through September 31, 2006, we linked the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA) data to the American Hospital Association data on the presence of hospitalists. Main outcome measures included composite measurements of hospital-level quality of care for 3 conditions (acute myocardial infarction [AMI], congestive heart failure [CHF], and pneumonia) and 2 dimensions of care (treatment and diagnosis, as well as counseling and prevention). We fitted a series of logistic regression models to examine the relationship between hospitalists and overall quality of care for each condition, controlling for all other hospital characteristics.
Of 3619 hospitals reporting HQA data, 1461 (40.4%) had hospitalists. Hospitals with hospitalists tended to be large, private, not-for-profit, teaching institutions located in the southern United States. The mean unadjusted composite scores were higher for hospitals with hospitalists vs those with no hospitalists for all 3 conditions (93% vs 86% for AMI, 82% vs 72% for CHF, and 75% vs 71% for pneumonia) and both dimensions of care (87% vs 77% for treatment and diagnosis and 75% vs 66% for counseling and prevention) (P < .001 for all comparisons). After multivariable adjustment, hospitals with hospitalists continued to perform significantly better than those without hospitalists across all composite scores except for CHF.
Hospitals with hospitalists were associated with better performance on HQA indicators for AMI, pneumonia, and the domains of overall disease treatment and diagnosis, as well as counseling and prevention.