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Gastroenterology. 1997 Jun;112(6):1859-62.

The effect of gastroenterology training on the efficiency and cost of care provided to patients with diverticulitis.

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Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.



National trends emphasize the need for cost-efficient medical care with no diminution in quality. The most appropriate role for various physician groups has yet to be determined. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficiency of medical care provided by family practitioners (FPs), internists (IMs), and gastroenterologists (GIs) for acute diverticulitis.


All medicare hospitalizations from 1990 to 1993 in Illinois caused by acute diverticulitis, with FPs, IMs, or GIs as the primary attending physician, were included in the study.


The primary attending physician was an FP in 1019 cases, an IM in 2535 cases, and a GI in 163 cases. The age and sex distributions were similar. The length of stay was significantly shorter (P < 0.0001) for GIs (7.4 +/- 6 days) than for FPs (7.9 +/- 14 days) or IMs (8.6 +/- 7 days). Readmission rate was significantly less (P < 0.03) for GIs (4.5%) than for FPs (7.7%) or IMs (10.0%). No significant differences were noted in complication rates or mortality.


Patients with diverticulitis treated by GIs have a shorter hospital stay and a lower risk for readmission than patients treated by FPs or IMs. This improved quality of care should be considered by managed care organizations because they decide the role of various physician groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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