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The Effect of Hospitalists on Average Length of Stay

Vinh, Khanhuyen P., DSc; Walston, Stephen L., PhD; Szychowski, Jeff, PhD; Hernandez, S. Robert, DPh

Journal of Healthcare Management: May-June 2019 - Volume 64 - Issue 3 - p 169–184
doi: 10.1097/JHM-D-18-00042

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Hospitals experiencing financial pressures are seeking to gain efficiencies through innovation. One solution is to engage hospitalists to help reduce the average length of stay (ALOS). This study considers whether and to what extent hospitalists affect ALOS and whether an association exists between the number of hospitalists per occupied bed (density) and ALOS. We examined 2,858 hospitals nationwide, including 20,180 hospital-years of data from 2007 through 2015 derived from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey database. Key findings showed that hospitals using hospitalists reported a statistically significant shorter ALOS than hospitals without hospitalists. The results also indicated a statistically significant decrease in ALOS for an increase in hospitalist full-time equivalent per occupied bed. This study is important because of the generalizability of its results and suggests that hospitals may form partnerships with hospitalists to improve hospital efficiency.

principal, KV Healthcare Solutions, Houston, Texas

director, MHA Program, and professor, David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

associate professor, Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham

professor, Department of Health Services Administration, School of Health Professions, University of Alabama at Birmingham

For more information about the concepts in this article, contact Dr. Vinh at

Khanhuyen P. Vinh also works as an administrator at her spouse’s hospitalist practice in Houston, Texas. No individuals associated with this practice participated in or influenced this research.

The coauthors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2019 Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives
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