Many industries, including health care, may seek to capitalize on providing “very important person” (VIP) services. Some have speculated about what it means to care for the VIP patient, but little research exists on the subject. We performed a multi-institutional survey of hospital medicine physicians to better understand the doctor–VIP relationship and its effect on clinical decision-making. Our study suggested that providers felt pressured to provide potentially unnecessary care to VIPs.
Joshua Allen-Dicker, MD, MPH
UCSF, Baystate Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Christiana Care Health System, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, San Francisco General Hospital, Vanderbilt University
Providing care to “very important person” (VIP) patients can pose unique moral and value-based challenges for providers. No studies have examined VIP services in the inpatient setting. Through a multi-institutional survey of hospitalists, we assessed physician viewpoints and behavior surrounding the care of VIP patients. A significant proportion of respondents reported feeling pressured by patients, family members, and hospital representatives to provide unnecessary care to VIP patients. Based on self-reported perceptions, as well as case-based questions, we also found that the VIP status of a patient may impact physician clinical decision-making related to unnecessary medical care. Additional studies to quantify the use of VIP services and its effect on cost, resource availability, and patient-specific outcomes are needed.