What is a hospitalist?
A Hospitalist is a physician who specializes in caring for patients in the hospital and who usually does not have an outpatient medical practice. Most Hospitalists are general internal medicine physicians, family practice physician, or pediatricians. Some Hospitalist are trained as specialists in pulmonary/critical care medicine, cardiology, or other subspecialties.
When will I see my primary care physician?
In many areas of the country, primary care physicians are referring their patients to a Hospitalist when their patients are sick enough that they can no longer be cared for in the outpatient setting. During your hospital stay, you will be seen by a Hospitalist. You will see your regular doctor soon after discharge from the hospital.
Hospitalists provide many benefits to you and your doctor:
- Hospitalists keep a close eye on you. In case of emergency, your Hospitalist is never very far. That’s because they work in the hospital and will see you more than once a day, if needed. Your hospitalist knows every specialist and department in the hospital. Hospitalists assist you through a smooth and speedy recovery process by following up on tests and adjusting your treatment regimen throughout the day based on those test results. Hospitalists answer your family’s questions.
- Hospitalists are here to provide the answers in person whenever possible. During crucial and stressful moments, they provide honest and considerate answers to your questions. Since Hospitalists are in the hospital 24 hours a day, they are able to spend more time talking to you and your family about your care. There’s no time more important to communicate about your care than when you might be critically ill.
- Hospitalists help your primary care doctor to be more available to you. Because Hospitalists are in the hospital all day, your doctor can be with you in the office with fewer delays and interruptions. Your primary care doctor will be able to devote more time to keeping you and your family healthy. For many patients and physicians, working with a Hospitalist team is a win-win proposition. Using a Hospitalist team enables your primary care physician to be more available to you in the office and enables the Hospitalist to be more available to care for you when you are at your sickest. With a physician in the hospital at all hours of the day and night, it’s easier for you and your family to communicate about your illness.
How does the hospitalist know about me?
Hospitalist talk to primary care physicians on a frequent basis. At the time of your admission to the hospital, your primary care physician calls the Hospitalist and informs him or her of your condition and sends over records to provide as much information as possible about your illness. The process is similar to what your physician does when he or she refers you to a specialist for another opinion or for additional tests and treatment.
During the course of your hospitalization, your Hospitalist and primary care physician may talk further regarding your treatment. And at discharge your Hospitalist will communicate with your primary care physician to discuss your further treatment needs, help arrange follow –up visits, prescribe the necessary medications, and he or she will send your hospital records to your primary care physician.
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In order to speak to your hospital doctor, ask your nurse to page us.
Your hospitalist care team will:
- Assess and treat your medical condition.
- Coordinate your hospital care including all diagnostic tests, including x-rays, blood tests or other exams.
- Arrange for any specialty care, therapy or consultations with other specialists.
- Establish a relationship with you and your family.
- Transition your medical care back to your own doctor when you are ready to be discharged. Your doctor will resume the responsibility for your ongoing treatment.
For more information on the hospitalist program, please call (731) 644-8477.