What You Need to Know About Hospitalists

Going into the emergency room can be a scary thing for many people. As a patient, you worry about whether or not your primary care physician who knows you and your medical history will be there to take your care into his or her capable and trusted hands. In many hospitals today a new trend in medicine is emerging making inpatient care more streamline for the patient, the hospital and your insurance company. This relatively new field is called hospital medicine.

Practicing hospitalist are usually doctors who have recently graduated from their residencies. Many hospitalist programs are out there to train residents so they can reduce the length of your stay, give you quality care and decrease the cost of your treatment while in the hospital. When you are admitted into the hospital, your wristband ID will have two names on it. One name being that of your primary care physician which is listed as the admitting physician and the other name will be your attending physician. Your attending physician in many cases will be a hospitalist or a member of one of the many hospitalist groups.

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A hospitalist is a physician, usually a doctor of medicine, M.D., or a doctor of osteopathic medicine also known as an O.D. The term hospitalist generally means a doctor who not only cares for the patient during their stay but also manages the business side of their stay such as logistics and quality assurance. Due to the rising popularity of hospitalist, many residency programs offer additional training, considered hospitalist programs, in order to meet the care needs of every patient they treat.

There are a few benefits to being treated by a hospitalist. These benefits include a more specialized and coordinated care for the patients as well as relieving some of the financial strains on primary care physicians from having to be out of the office to care for patients in the hospital, and it is more cost effective for hospitals in our recovering economy. But, there are also some drawbacks to being treated by a member of one of the several hospitalist groups.

One drawback is that your attending physician doesn’t know your detailed personal and family medical history. This can make treating you for certain conditions more complicated. Another drawback is that when you go to your primary care physician, they won’t have any of the records from your hospital visit unless you call ahead, sign the release forms and have the information transferred to your doctor’s office. This can be a bit inconvenient to you due to the fact that your attending physician and your personal physician don’t communicate directly which can cause some issues with your follow-up care.

In the next decade or so, hospitalist may see their chosen field become a specialty that has its own board certification to pass as well as the residency hospitalist program becoming more widely available for those residents who choose to treat the whole patient and not just one part. This means that not only will your condition be treated but you will be well informed about everything going on related to you and so will your family.

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