NIH study assesses link between staffing and outcomes

Nurse staffing and education levels both affect outcomes, according to research backed by a division of the National Institutes of Health and a European Union organization. The researchers concluded that each additional surgery patient in a nurse's workload increased the likelihood that a patient would die within 30 days of admission by 7 percent, according to the NIH's National Institute of Nursing Research. The researchers also concluded that for every 10 percent increase in bachelor's degrees among nurses, the likelihood that a patient would die falls 7 percent. The results are based on a review of discharge data for 420,000 patients in nine European countries and a survey of 26,500 nurses in those countries.

Doctor pay gap drops

Staffing firm Sullivan, Cotter and Associates Inc. found in a survey that primary care physician pay rose 5.7 percent in 2013, which is greater than the 3.2 percent increase in pay to medical specialists and the 2.3 percent increase paid to surgical specialists. The slight shift is consistent with an "ever-increasing demand" for primary care physicians to propel the focus on prevention, population health management and cost control, says Kim Mobley, managing principal and national physician compensation practice leader. Meanwhile, temporary care company Staff Care found in a survey of hospitals and medical groups that 90 percent of respondents used temp physicians in the last 12 months, up from 74 percent the previous 12 months.

Survey indicates primary care ranks slipping in D.C.

The ratio of specialists to primary care physicians changed slightly in favor of specialty care in the District of Columbia in 2012 when compared with two years earlier, according to research published in the Journal of Medical Regulation. There were 70 specialists for every 30 primary care doctors, an increase from the 2010 ratio of 67 and 33, respectively. The survey also found an increased interest in internal medicine, with 15.3 percent of the region's physicians working in that area, an increase from 13.5 percent in 2010, according to the survey.