The medical history and knowledge of that patient held by their primary care doctor was immensely beneficial in treating the hospitalized patient. However, starting in the 1990s, physicians with their own practices and larger numbers of patients found they could not devote the prolonged time needed to provide quality care to their hospitalized patients. This problem created a new field of medicine – hospitalists, which has quickly become the fastest growing field of study.
Because of advancements in what can be treated through primary care or outpatient procedures, patients admitted to hospitals today tend to have more complicated medical problems than in the past.
The United States now has more acutely ill patients with multiple medical conditions that require various specialists to treat them.
Hospitalists direct and coordinate a patient’s treatment between different hospital departments and help the patient navigate treatment. In the process, they are also primarily responsible for monitoring the patient’s overall care.
Without hospitalists, patients would be left on their own to work with the multitude of medical professionals involved in their treatment, who otherwise have little daily contact with one another. Having a hospitalist that thoroughly understands the inner workings of their hospital and can tend to each patient’s medical needs has become essential.
The next time you or a loved one are admitted for a hospital stay, talk to your medical care team about securing additional guidance during treatment from the facility’s hospitalist. Remember that they’re there to be your advocate, and to help coordinate the best possible treatment, leading to better health outcomes.
Author: Nina Lum, Chief Quality Officer and Hospitalist, CHI Saint Joseph Health