Learn About the Hospitalists Who Take Care of You While in the Hospital

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By Dr. Eric Snyder, DNP, ACNP-BC

May 29, 2017

Learn About the Hospitalists Who Take Care of Patients in the Hospital

By: Dr. Eric Snyder, DNP, ACNP-BC

What is a hospitalist?

A hospitalist is a healthcare provider (usually a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant), who specializes in caring for you while you are in the hospital. A hospitalist acts as your primary healthcare provider while you are an inpatient, and is in contact with your primary care provider – whether your admission is planned or an emergency.

Why would I see a hospitalist in the hospital rather than my primary care provider?

It is difficult for your primary care provider to see patients in the office and the hospital at the same time. Our hospitalist program helps make sure you get the attention you need in the hospital, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trinity Hospital Twin City works with hospitalists, and the majority of U.S. hospitals also work with hospitalists.

How do patients benefit from the hospitalist program?

  • Shorter waiting time for a bed. The hospitalist helps speed up the process of getting patients admitted from the Emergency Room.
  • Better communication. Because hospitalists only work in the hospital, they can spend time talking to you and your family. The hospitalist becomes the center point for communication so that the patient, family, primary care physician, and specialists all talk with the same person.
  • Personalized, family-centered care. Since hospitalists practice full-time in the hospital, they are available whenever you or a family member has a question regarding medical care. You don’t have to wait for your primary care provider to make rounds to share your concerns or get answers.
  • Shorter hospital stay. Having the hospitalist act as provider and coordinator of your care eliminates much of the wait time for tests, results, and consultations. The hospitalist makes sure each step happens in a timely manner, and this can reduce your stay by as much as a day.
  • Quicker discharge. Patients can wait all day for their provider to arrive or for a surgeon to finish other cases and release them from the hospital. The hospitalist can give discharge approval more quickly, to get you on your way home sooner.
  • Better quality of care. In case of an emergency while you’re in the hospital, your hospitalist is nearby and can see you several times a day, if needed. Your hospitalist knows every specialist and department in the hospital, and will follow up on tests and adjust your treatment throughout the day as needed.

How do I contact the hospitalist about my care?

Accessibility is one of the key advantages of the hospitalist program. If you or a family member has questions during your stay, please ask your nurse to contact the hospitalist who is caring for you.

Will the hospitalist be involved in follow-up care?

Usually your relationship with the hospitalist is limited to the time you are a patient in the hospital. Hospitalists do, however, make themselves available to primary care providers and specialists for consultations. Your primary care provider will continue to be your regular provider after you leave the hospital.

Reference:

Wachter RM; Bell D (2012). "Renaissance of hospital generalists". BMJ. 344: e652.


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