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Medical News & Perspectives
January 22, 2003

David Meltzer, Physician and Economist, Discusses the New Hospitalist Movement

JAMA. 2003;289(4):411-413. doi:10.1001/jama.289.4.411

The hospitalist movement continues to gain ground in the United States, and David Meltzer, MD, PhD, believes that's probably a good thing. He feels certain, however, that research directed toward evaluating the outcomes of hospitalists will hold the answer to their usefulness.

Meltzer, who is an associate professor in the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Department of Economics, and the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago, has been studying for several years the effectiveness of hospitalists, general internists who spend a substantial part of their time taking care of hospitalized patients rather than ambulatory patients. Long interested in the idea of specialization and its benefits, Meltzer said during a recent interview that he thinks the University of Chicago hospitals offer a fruitful environment in which to study the impact of hospitalists on patient care, and that "the idea that the hospital could be used as a laboratory, that we could systematically collect data on the patients we're caring for, and use it to improve quality of care, is terribly exciting."