Letter from the Editor

This month's issue includes articles on our 2014 Top Hospitalists, patient visitation policies, an innovative approach to discharge planning, and more.

Welcome to our seventh annual Top Hospitalists feature! Back in July, we asked our readers to nominate the colleagues they most admired so we could feature them in our pages. Our editorial board members then selected 10 nominees from the pool whom they deemed the most outstanding. The result is a varied group of clinicians working in different ways to make the field of hospital medicine better. We hope that some of the hospitalists featured in our cover story will be new to you, as we aspire to highlight impressive, unsung work in the hospitalist community. The men and women profiled come from all around the country, from urban to rural settings, from community as well as academic hospitals. They are leaders in quality improvement, patient satisfaction, high-value care, education, mentorship, volunteering, and more. We found their work uplifting and inspiring, and we hope you will, too.

Also this month, we take a look at patient visitation policies in hospitals. A recent study found that more than two-thirds of hospitals have at least 1 restriction on visits, and about 90% of ICUs have 1 or more restrictions. These historic policies have been carried over to the modern day, though many patient advocates believe they are unnecessary and counterproductive to improving health. Concerns that visitors may conflict with HIPAA-mandated privacy regulations and distract clinicians from their duties are either unfounded or can be mitigated, advocates say, and many hospitals are listening. Read Stacey Butterfield's story to learn more about how hospitals are reconsidering their visitor policies.

Our Success Story this month looks at a tool adopted by Yale-New Haven Hospital to help predict and prepare for discharges. The red-yellow-green system has physicians assess whether a patient is very likely, possibly likely, or unlikely to be discharged the next day. For patients in the first 2 categories, night shift nurses begin discharge paperwork, and then morning huddles target the “very likely” discharge patients. As a result, the percentage of patients discharged by 11 a.m. has more than doubled.

We'd love to know what you think of this issue. If you have a comment about our Top Hospitalists, or a Success Story to share, please write to us.

Jessica Berthold
Editor-in-Chief, ACP Hospitalist