NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — IPC The Hospitalist Company Inc., a provider of in-hospital medical services, said Monday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 31 percent on a boost in patients.

Profit rose to $7 million, or 42 cents per share, compared with $5.4 million, or 32 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue grew 18 percent to $97.2 million from $82.2 million a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected net income of 39 cents per share on revenue of $96.1 million.

The company said patient encounters in the quarter rose 16 percent to 1 million.

For the full year, the company earned $24.3 million, or $1.46 per share, compared with $18.6 million, or $1.14 per share, in 2009. Revenue rose to $363.4 million from $310.5 million.

Looking ahead, the company expects 2011 profit between $1.78 and $1.86 per share on revenue between $446 million and $455 million.

Shares of IPC fell 62 cents to close at $43.02.