For Patients

What is a Hospitalist?
Specially trained hospital-based doctors who practice exclusively at the hospital are known as hospitalists, hence the name. Hospitalists order appropriate diagnostic tests, monitor their patients' conditions, make treatment decisions with input from primary care doctors, and coordinate patient care among all members of the hospital staff. A hospitalist doesn't see patients away from a hospital. In fact, the hospitalist's sole responsibility is to care for hospitalized patients, from admission to discharge.

Did You Know That...

  • About 78 percent of practicing hospitalists are trained in general internal medicine.
  • Another 4 percent are trained in an internal medicine subspecialty, such as pulmonary or critical care medicine.
  • Pediatricians, family practitioners and others - including nurse practitioners and physician assistants - account for the remainder.
  • There are 15,000 hospitalists practicing today and that number may grow substantially in the coming years.
  • The hospitalist specialty has its own professional association and scholarly journal.

Source: The Society of Hospital Medicine

A stay in the hospital can be overwhelming. Hospitalists help patients and their families understand the various phases of their care and take the confusion out of a hospital stay. There many possible benefits to receiving care from a hospitalist.

  • Because a hospitalist's practice is limited to people in the hospital, he or she gains valuable experience dealing with the unique needs of a person during a hospital stay.
  • Spending most of their workday in the hospital makes hospitalists especially accessible, and easily able to coordinate the efforts of the many people involved in a person's care. Hospitalists generally can respond quickly whenever a patient or family member has a question or concern. This contrasts with office-based doctors, who often see their hospitalized patients only during morning or evening rounds.
  • Hospitalists - most of whom are either trained as internists or pediatricians - become especially skilled at treating health problems common among hospitalized patients, such as pneumonia, infections, heart attacks and congestive heart failure.
  • Because they are near their patient's bedside, hospitalists can recognize and react quickly to any changes in their patient's condition - a real advantage.

A growing body of research suggests that hospitalists improve the overall quality of patient care.

For more information about hospitalist services, call 301-754-7991.