What is a hospitalist?
A hospitalist is a physician whose practice is dedicated entirely to the care of hospitalized patients. Since their sole practice is within the hospital itself, they have no additional doctor’s office in the community. Hospitalists generally work in teams to provide 24-hour coverage for their hospitalized patients. The hospitalist is often an internal medicine or family medicine physician, though some are trained in subspecialties like critical care, nephrology or geriatrics. The hospitalist’s activities may also include serving on hospital committees, teaching, research and leadership related to hospital care.
What is hospital medicine?
Hospital medicine refers to the care of hospitalized patients. It is the fastest-growing specialty that has revolutionized inpatient care for the benefit of patients, the medical community and hospitals.
Do hospitalists replace my primary care physician?
Hospitalists work with the community of physicians – including primary care physicians and specialists. The hospitalist group and the community of physicians have a dynamic working relationship based on an agreement that has been previously negotiated by physicians. To provide the best possible care, your medical history is provided to the hospitalist at the time of admission. Upon discharge, patients and their updated medical records are returned to the primary care physician.
How does my regular doctor know about my illness in the hospital?
Sound Physicians’ hospitalists work closely with the community of physicians throughout the admission and discharge process to ensure the smooth transition of care. Medical records are updated and exchanged and, if your doctor prefers, a phone call is made as well. Sound Physicians’ hospitalists take it upon themselves to be sure their patients resume appropriate care with their personal physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, you are provided one to follow up with your medical needs.
How do patients benefit from a hospitalist’s care?
Hospitalists work as a team to be available to their patients 24 hours a day. The Hospitalist is accessible to address the questions and concerns of patients or their families. In the traditional model, patients are typically visited only once a day, usually in the evening, by their personal physician. The diagnoses, the severity of the patient’s condition, and related complications are often unique to the hospitalized patient. Optimally, your physician is most experienced in these areas of medicine. Since the hospitalist provides 100 percent of their patient care in the hospital (compared to 12 percent of a typical primary care physician’s time), they are truly inpatient specialists.
A patient’s hospital care path is a fluid and often unpredictable process of decision making. The hospitalists are available to make these decisions throughout the day. They rapidly follow up on test results, discuss a case with specialists, examine the patient’s response to treatment, and adjust the treatment as needed. This prevents frustrating and idle waiting by the patient and hastens a smooth and speedy recovery. Should an emergency or a change in the patient’s condition arise, a member of the hospital team is always available. Spending all of their clinical time in the hospital, hospitalists have a unique, in-depth knowledge of hospital logistics – departments, specialists, and technologies – resulting in efficient and exceptional patient care.
Healthcare research has proven that hospital medicine has increased the quality of care as well as reducing healthcare costs. This translates to better care for you, with less unnecessary tests, less discomfort, and earlier patient discharge. On average, hospitalists are able to safely discharge their patients 30 percent sooner. By taking care of the hospitalized patients, hospitalists allow your primary care doctor to be more available to you and others for office visits.
What if a patient doesn’t have a primary care physician?
A key element of hospital medicine is to provide care for those without a primary care physician. These are referred to as “unassigned patients.” It is very important to the medical community that these patients receive the same high quality care as any other patient. To guarantee these patients are under a doctor’s care after discharge, Sound Physicians’ hospitalists have an agreement with their community’s primary care physicians. These physicians will take care of these unassigned patients in exchange for Sound Physicians providing inpatient care for their patients. This collegial arrangement has proven to benefit the patient, the hospital, and the community.
What if a patient doesn’t have insurance?
Hospitalists provide care whether a patient has insurance or not. Sound Physicians’ hospitalists are “insurance blind” and provide the same high level of compassionate care regardless of a patient’s insurance status. It really makes no difference to the hospitalist, who is trained to provide every patient the best possible care. They do, however, work closely with case management to assist their patients in accessing all possible resources unique to their situation
Do hospitalists work with specialists?
Yes, hospitalists work closely with specialists. A patient requiring surgery or an orthopedic procedure frequently has other health issues, such as diabetes or hypertension. The specialist can request that the hospitalist share in the patient’s care. This allows the specialists to focus on their areas of expertise.
Do hospitalists work with nursing and case management?
Because the hospital is their sole practice venue, hospitalists develop strong working relationships with nursing and case management. Given their 24-hour availability, hospitalists can more efficiently manage admissions and discharges – saving time, money and frustration.
Sound Physicians’ hospitalists have support and encouragement in their continued education. Because they work in teams, our hospitalists are able to draw on the collective knowledge of each other. Sound Physicians assists physicians in the continued development of a uniform, evidence-based approach to care. We have developed specially tailored programs to focus on ways to improve hospital safety and efficiency. Sound Physicians uses today’s most advanced communication technologies to assist our teams and their support network in creating this new generation of inpatient care.
Are hospitalists unique to the U.S.?
Hospital medicine has been a tradition in Europe and Canada for decades. The model of a hospital-based physician has been quite successful in the United States as well.
Does the use of hospitalists save money?
The definitive answer is “yes.” Repeated studies have shown a significant cost savings with the use of the hospitalist model of care. As an example, these savings are seen in the reduction of unnecessary tests and procedures as well as earlier discharge. These factors definitely serve the best interests of the patient.