Inpatient v. Outpatient Work

January 1, 2007

I am in family practice and just started a solo practice. The practice is picking up, but it is still somewhat slow. (I average of six to seven patients per day now.) I do see my patients in the hospital, but I am not sure if the hassle is worth it economically. I much prefer outpatient work, too. Do you have any figures or resources that can help me?

Question: I am in family practice and just started a solo practice. The practice is picking up, but it is still somewhat slow. (I average of six to seven patients per day now.) I do see my patients in the hospital, but I am not sure if the hassle is worth it economically. I much prefer outpatient work, too. Do you have any figures or resources that can help me?

Answer: Run a report on all your inpatient codes. How much revenue have you earned in the past six months, and how many visits have you had? This information will help you determine what you earn per visit on average. You can then weigh whether the wear and tear is worth it to you. Also take a hard look at how your balance sheet would read without that revenue.

Do your hospital rounds keep you from filling outpatient appointments - that is, does your scheduler have to turn away potential patients at your office because you’re doing rounds when they want to come in? You might try to capture that somehow.

If no one is getting turned away, I’d generally say go to the hospital. You can work with a hospitalist when you are seeing more patients a day and don’t need the money quite so much.