The strongest known predictor of whether a patient will enroll in hospice care is the individual physician the patient sees, according to new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
This factor outweighs other known factors, including geographic location, patient age, race, and comorbidities.
After controlling for other factors that predict hospice enrollment, the researchers found that patients were 27% more likely to enroll in hospice if they saw a physician in the top 10% of hospice use, compared with those who saw a physician in the bottom 10%. In addition, they found that a large number of cancer patients were seen by a relatively small group of physicians.
Study results also showed that regional factors, greater comorbidity, and physician specialty were significantly associated with the likelihood of hospice enrollment.
A new effect seen in this study was physicians associated with for profit hospitals were less likely to have patients enroll in hospice, compared with physicians with non-profit hospitals.
New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital finds that physician characteristics are the strongest predictor of whether a patient will be referred to hospice care.