What is a Hospitalist?


What is a Hospitalist?

When you have heart troubles you see a cardiologist. When you have a baby, you see an obstetrician. And when you are in the hospital you see a hospitalist.

Hospitalists provide general medical care for a patient while he or she is in the hospital.  This care may include ordering and reviewing diagnostic tests in order to make a diagnosis. Hospitalists will also develop treatment plans, teach patients about their conditions and consult with other providers in various specialties to determine the best care for their patients. 

Day-to-day responsibilities may include examining patients as they are admitted and reviewing lab tests, x-rays and other diagnostic tests performed. A hospitalist may also order medications, treatments and services, such as physical or respiratory therapy.

There are many advantages of hospitalists in the care hospitalized patients. One advantage is that hospitalists' have more expertise in caring for complicated hospitalized patients on a daily basis. They are also more available most of the day in the hospital to meet with family members, able to follow-up on tests, answer nurses' questions, and simply to deal with problems that may arise. In many instances, hospitalists' may see a patient more than once a day to assure that care is going according to plan, and to explain test findings to patients and family members.

Hospitalists provide patients with continuity of care, allowing them to see the same provider for much of their hospital stay. Because they work in the hospital, hospitalists can check up on the patient at least once a day and become familiar with the patient's illness. They can better coordinate care provided by specialty physicians and ancillary departments, such as physical and occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, social services and nursing case management. 

By providing efficient and immediate care, patients can often see a reduce length of stay in the hospital.  Overall, hospitalist programs can provide a better overall experience.

Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will see your primary care provider.  Your primary care provider will review your health status and reconcile your medication list to ensure a safe transition.