CORSICANA, TX — If you’ve been in the hospital recently, you probably noticed that the medical team who provided your care included specialists other than your personal physician. In addition to the doctors, nurses, case managers, diagnosticians and other specialists, your regular physician may partner with a special type of physician known as a hospitalist.
A hospitalist — a physician who practices exclusively in the hospital setting — helps coordinate your care while you are in the hospital. Hospitalists have been a part of the medical field for many years, and are one of the fastest-growing types of doctors because of their important role in coordinating care and providing continuity for patients during their hospital stay.
Like a primary care doctor, hospitalists are trained in general internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics and other specialties. Some specialize in critical care medicine, cardiology or other subspecialties.
Hospitalists serve as liaisons for both patients and their physicians. Hospitalists are available to see patients frequently — sometimes more than once a day — to monitor their progress, answer questions and check in on the efforts of other health care professionals involved in patients’ care. Because hospitalists do not maintain medical practices outside the hospital, they can focus their attention exclusively on patients’ medical care while they are inside the hospital.
If you are admitted to the hospital for surgery, a hospitalist may coordinate your inpatient care after your procedure. Once you are discharged home, the hospitalist will communicate with your physician about further treatment needed, help arrange follow-up care or medications needed and send your hospital records back to your primary care provider.
Hospitalists have a thorough understanding of inpatient medical care. They are uniquely qualified to recognize and diagnose medical disorders, anticipate potential problems and rapidly respond to any sudden change in the patient’s condition.
Patients under the care of a medical team led by a hospitalist often have shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries. A study at the University of California, San Francisco and Tufts University found that patients under hospitalists’ care had a 12 percent shorter length of stay in the hospital — nearly half a day — as well as better surgical outcomes and fewer return trips to the hospital.
Provided by Navarro Regional Hospital.