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Increasing Trend Toward Use of ‘Laborists’ in Hospitals

Trend increasing as hospitals seek to improve patient safety and more doctors want to be salaried

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Hospitals are increasingly employing laborists who are always at the hospital to handle births and obstetrical and gynecological emergencies, with positive results, according to a report published by Kaiser Health News.

The trend of using laborists ensures there is always an obstetrician at the hospital. The change has meant that patients may be delivered by a doctor who they have never met before. Hospitals are increasingly using laborists, as they seek to improve patient safety and as physicians recognize that they need help responding to emergencies. Some hospitals use laborists all day, while others use them just at night or on weekends.

The article notes that several factors are driving the trend, including hospitals striving to improve patient satisfaction and reduce their malpractice rate, and doctors wanting to work for a salary rather than running their own practice. Obstetricians also want more time away from practice and relief from emergencies. The presence of laborists has been shown to reduce cesarean-section rates; hospitals also report fewer early elective deliveries done before 39 weeks.

“There has been a generational shift that modern physicians who come out of residency programs tend to want a better work-life balance and the hospitalist program allows doctors to have that,” Kaye Garner, M.D., chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida, said in the article.

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