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Wells R D; Dahl, B; Nilson, B
Academic Medicine: February 1998
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PURPOSE: To compare the quality and cost of inpatient care provided by pediatrics residents with the quality and cost of that provided by private, practicing pediatricians. METHOD: Valley Children's Hospital--a 175-bed, private, nonprofit, university-affiliated pediatric hospital located in Fresno, California--has both a resident service and a community physician service. From May 1994 to March 1995 a total of 154 pediatric patients (64 from the resident service, 90 from the community service) were selected for the study using incidental sampling. In order to be included in the study, patients had discharge diagnoses of uncomplicated gastroenteritis or asthma. The parent or guardian of each patient completed a satisfaction questionnaire at discharge and agreed to a home visit one month later, when the same questionnaire and another were completed. Patients' charts were studied for treatment procedures, and follow-up data for a year were compiled. Statistical analyses were conducted with analysis of variance for continuous measures and chi-squares for dichotomous variables. RESULTS: The findings indicated no difference between the two services in terms of the parents' and guardians' satisfaction with patient care, hospital charges, and degrees of adherence to follow-up care after discharge. The community physicians were more likely than were the residents to employ non-standard laboratory and management procedures with both the asthma and gastroenteritis patients. The asthma patients cared for by community physicians had significantly more frequent asthma attacks after discharge, with a higher frequency of patients being subsequently treated in the emergency room and readmitted to the hospital, than did the asthma patients cared for by the residents. CONCLUSION: Common perceptions that physicians-in-training (1) overuse medical services and (2) fail, due to their inexperience, to provide high-quality services were not supported in this study.

Created Date: 19 March 1998; Completed Date: 19 March 1998; Revised Date: 01 November 2002

© 1998 Association of American Medical Colleges