The staff/housestaff hospitalist system has been evaluated in 2 pediatric centers in the United States. In Canada, fewer residents and duty hour restrictions led to the development of a staff-only hospitalist system. The objective of this study was to compare the staff-only pediatric hospitalist system and the staff/housestaff hospitalist system with respect to traditional outcome measures.
This cohort study (staff-only hospitalist system versus staff/housestaff system) used electronic health records data (July 1, 1996, to June 30, 1997) for all admissions (n = 3807) to the general pediatric inpatient unit of an urban, tertiary care, pediatric, teaching hospital in Toronto, Canada. Outcome measures included length of hospital stay, subspecialty consultations, readmission to the hospital, and death during the hospital stay.
The median length of hospital stay was reduced by 14% for patients admitted to the staff-only hospitalist system, compared with the staff/housestaff hospitalist system (2.5 and 2.9 days, respectively). This difference remained statistically significant after adjustment for age, gender, and comorbidity. There were no significant differences between the 2 models of care with respect to subspecialty consultation, hospital readmission, or mortality rates. A stratified analysis showed similar findings for the 10 most frequent diagnostic groups.
The staff-only hospitalist system was associated with a significant reduction in the hospital length of stay, without evidence of adverse effects on mortality or readmission rates, compared with the staff/hospitalist system. In the context of recent restrictions on resident duty hours in the United States, these findings may be of interest to pediatric teaching hospitals considering the development of a similar staff-only hospitalist model.