‘Proceduralists’ Help Reduce Hospital Complication Rates
Some academic medical centers have launched centers and training programs for "proceduralists" -- physicians who specialize in procedural services, such as spinal taps or catheter insertion -- to meet increased demand and help reduce complication rates, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Procedural medicine is not considered "a medical specialty in its own right" but has become more popular among "physicians with the manual dexterity and steady nerves to perform risky procedures," according to the Journal.
The increased demand for proceduralists has resulted in part because of concerns about patient safety and risk for medical malpractice lawsuits, as well as concerns from the American Board of Internal Medicine and some medical groups that the current residency training programs for internists do not provide adequate experience with complex medical procedures.
In addition, reductions in reimbursements from health insurers have "made it less lucrative to do many common procedures," the Journal reports.
The use of proceduralists allows surgeons to perform procedures that receive larger reimbursements from health insurers, according to Bradley Rosen, assistant director of the Procedure Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The center also has helped Cedars-Sinai reduce complication rates for medical procedures to less than 1%, compared with a national average of 2% to 5%, Rosen said (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 7/11).