Hospitals are employing more nurse practitioners and physician assistants on inpatient pediatric units. With this study, we compared patient outcomes in high-volume inpatient diagnoses on pediatric hospital medicine services staffed by attending physician hospitalists and residents (hospitalist and resident service [HRS]) with 1 staffed by attending physician hospitalists and advanced practice providers (HAPPS).
A historical cohort study was implemented by using administrative data for patients admitted to HRS and HAPPS from 2007 to 2011 with asthma, bronchiolitis, cellulitis, and pneumonia with severity levels 1 and 2 for all-patient refined diagnosis-related groups. Length of stay, readmission, ICU transfer, and hospital charges were compared.
After controlling for clinical, demographic, and socioeconomic differences, the average probability of discharge was 10% greater each day (event ratio [ER] = 1.1 [1.06–1.14]) on HAPPS compared with HRS. By diagnosis, this trend persisted with asthma (ER = 1.07 [1.02–1.12]), cellulitis (ER = 1.2 [1.1–1.3]), and pneumonia (ER = 1.17 [1.08–1.28]) but not for bronchiolitis (ER = 0.99 [0.92–1.06]). Both 3- and 30-day readmissions were higher for HRS discharges with bronchiolitis (odds ratio = 5.9 [1.3–28.6] and 2.0 [1.3–3.3], respectively) but not for the other diagnoses. Hospital charges were 13% higher for patients on HRS than HAPPS. ICU transfers did not differ statistically.
Within the limitations of the design, HAPPS performed at least as well as HRS with respect to length of stay, readmissions, ICU transfers, and charges for 4 of the most common inpatient diagnoses with severity levels 1 to 2. Indicated in these results is that in this configuration, advanced practice providers on pediatric hospitalist services represent a viable model for other institutions to consider and test.