Hospitalists, or specialists of hospital medicine, have long been practicing in Canada and Europe. However, it was not until the mid-1990s, when hospitals in the U.S. started widespread adoption of hospitalists. Since then, the number of hospitalists has grown exponentially in the U.S. from a few hundred to over 50,000 in 2016. Prior studies on hospitalists have well documented benefits hospitals gain from adopting this innovative staffing strategy. However, there is a dearth of research documenting predictors of hospitals' adoption of hospitalists. To fill this gap, this longitudinal study (2003-2015) purposes to determine organizational and market characteristics of U.S. hospitals that utilize hospitalists. Our findings indicate that private not-for-profit, system affiliated, teaching, and urban hospitals, and those located in higher per capita income markets have a higher probability of utilizing hospitalists. Additionally, large or medium, profitable hospitals, and those that treat sicker patients have a higher probability of adoption. Finally, hospitals with a high proportion of Medicaid patients have a lower probability of utilizing hospitalists. Our results suggest that hospitals with greater slack resources and those located in munificent counties are more likely to use hospitalists, while their under-resourced counterparts may experience more barriers in adopting this innovative staffing strategy.
Keywords: US hospitals; hospitalists; market factors; organizational characteristics; resource dependence theory; slack resources.