How Hospitalists Contribute to Improved Patient Safety

Hospital MedicineIt is no coincidence that the rise of hospitalists in the United States coincided with a major push to improve patient safety at hospitals, a push that began in the late 1990s and continues to this day. As recently as 1999, an estimated 98,000 deaths were attributed to medical errors each year, according to an Institute of Medicine report, “To Err is Human.”

In 2006, Institute for Healthcare Improvement President Don Berwick credited hospitalists, in part, with helping to spearhead a successful program called the 100,000 Lives Campaign. Over the targeted time period of 18 months, an estimated 122,000 lives were saved by the program, which focused on altering the culture of hospitals in an effort to improve safety and the quality of care. The increased emphasis on patient safety that came about after the publication of “To Err is Human,” coupled with the success of the 100,000 Lives Program, opened the eyes of hospital administrators to the value of employing full-time hospitalists.

Hospitalists can contribute to improved patient safety and overall care by helping the hospital meet the Joint Commission’s National Safety Patient Goals. As full-time hospital employees whose focus is strictly on the patients at the hospital − as opposed to a private practice elsewhere − hospitalists can:

  • Facilitate proper patient identification
  • Improve staff communication
  • Reconcile medication
  • Identify proper and safe use of alarms
  • Guard against infection
  • Identify patient safety risks before they become a problem
  • Prevent mistakes in surgery

The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) believes that the demand for hospitalist board certification will continue to accelerate in the coming years. Since the mid-1990s, the number of practicing hospitalists has grown from less than 1,000 to more than 16,000. That rapid growth in interest in the specialty means that the need for hospitalist certification has also increased. To help meet that need, the ABPS developed the nation’s only comprehensive and dedicated board of certification for hospital medicine governed by hospitalists, the American Board of Hospital Medicine (ABHM). This is not merely a subspecialty of internal medicine. Hospitalist board certification through the ABHM carries all the standing and prestige of a distinct and vital medical specialty.

To learn more about board certification in Hospital Medicine, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official multi-specialty certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.

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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine