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Patient Outcomes May Suffer When Physicians Work Part Time

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hirotaka Kato, PhD

Graduate School of Health Management
Keio University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  Physicians are increasingly engaging in clinical practice on a part-time basis, but little is known about the quality of care provided by these physicians.

In this analysis of nationally representative data of the elderly patients admitted to hospitals, we found that patients treated by hospitalists who worked more clinical days per year had significantly lower 30-day mortality compared with patients treated by hospitalists working fewer clinical days, even after accounting for the differences in severity of illness. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our findings suggest that clinical care by physicians working part-time clinically may be associated with worse patient outcomes. Given that physicians working part-time clinically must often balance clinical and non-clinical obligations, better support by institutions may be necessary to maintain the clinical performance of those physicians. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This is the first large-scale study examining the association between the number of days worked clinically per year by hospitalists and patient mortality. Our findings need to be confirmed in additional studies using different datasets. There is also a need to further investigate the mechanisms through which physicians with less overall clinical time exhibit poorer patient outcomes.

No disclosures. 

Citation:

Kato H, Jena AB, Figueroa JF, Tsugawa Y. Association Between Physician Part-time Clinical Work and Patient Outcomes. JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 13, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.5247

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Sep 17, 2021 @ 7:25 pm

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