Medical Staff

Ask the expert: What is the return on investment for surgical hospitalist programs?

Hospitalist Leadership Connection, January 18, 2011

As with other hospitalist programs, a precise return on investment (ROI) is difficult to capture and will vary from hospital to hospital. The below worksheet provides a framework of key questions to ask when calculating ROI.

  • Will your hospital be able to reduce length of stay (LOS) if you have a surgical hospitalist program?
    • Reduction of LOS x daily cost savings
  • Will you be able to increase throughput in your ED or operating room?
    • Increased surgical cases x average revenue/surgical case
  • Are you currently paying for ED call coverage for general surgery?
    • Daily stipend x 365 days
  • Will a surgical hospitalist lead to a reduction in your malpractice settlements?
    • Average surgical case settlement x probability of reduction of case
  • Does more consistent surgical coverage help your community mission to provide care within your hospital (rather than transferring patients elsewhere)? Is this important to your hospital from a political and community benefit perspective?
    • Difficult to quantify by may be of tremendous value
  • Will you be able to attract more community surgeons to your hospital if they no longer have to take call and they have an addition resource to help with complex cases?
    • Increased surgical cases x average revenue/surgical case

The above excerpt is adapted from The Surgical Hospitalist Program Management Guide: Tools and Strategies for Executives and Physicians, by John Nelson, MD, FACP; John Maa, MD, FACS; and foreword by Robert M. Wachter, MD, published by HCPro, Inc. Download a free sample chapter online at

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