Association of hospitalist years of experience with mortality in the hospitalized medicare population

James S. Goodwin, Habeeb Salameh, Jie Zhou, Siddhartha Singh, Yong Fang Kuo, Ann B. Nattinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: Substantial numbers of hospitalists are fresh graduates of residency training programs. Current data about the effect of hospitalist years of experience on patient outcomes are lacking. OBJECTIVE: To describe the association of hospitalist years of experience with 30-day mortality and hospital mortality of their patients. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We used a 5%sample of national Medicare data of patient and hospital characteristics to build a multilevel logistic regression model to predict mortality as a function of years of experience of the hospitalists. We created 2 cohorts. The first was a cross-sectional cohort of 21 612 hospitalists working between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, with a 5-year look-back period to assess their years of prior experience as a hospitalist, and the second was a longitudinal cohort of 3860 hospitalists in their first year of practice between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2011, who continued practicing hospital medicine for at least 4 years. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Thirty-day postadmission mortality adjusted for patient and hospital characteristics in a 3-level logistic regression model. Hospital mortality was a secondary outcome. RESULTS: Among 21 612 hospitalists caring for Medicare inpatients from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, 5445 (25%) had 1 year of experience or less, while 11 596 (54%) had 4 years of experience or more.We then identified 3860 physicians in their first year as hospitalists who continued to practice as hospitalists for 4 years. There was a significant association between hospitalist experience and mortality. Observed 30-day mortality was 10.50% for patients of first-year hospitalists vs 9.97%for patients of hospitalists in their second year. The mortality odds for patients of second-year hospitalists were 0.90 (95%CI, 0.84-0.96) compared with patients of first-year hospitalists. Observed hospital mortality was 3.33%for patients cared for by first-year hospitalists vs 2.96%for second-year hospitalists. (odds ratio, 0.84; 95%CI, 0.75-0.95). For both 30-day and hospital mortality, there was little change in odds of mortality between the second year and subsequent years of experience. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Patients cared for by hospitalists in their first year of practice experience higher mortality. Early-career hospitalists may require additional support to ensure optimal outcomes for their patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-203
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA Internal Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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