A hospitalist, as the name suggests, is a doctor who specialize in caring for patients in the hospital.
Most hospitalists are board-certified internists (internal medicine doctors not interns. Some are family practice doctors, intensive care doctors, pulmonologists, or nephrologists. Hospitalists are experts at caring for patients with complicated health problems. A hospitalist often treats patients for pneumonia, meningitis, digestive problems, and chest pain.
Often the primary care doctor who referred you to the hospital turns your care over to your hospitalist during your stay in the hospital. This doctor has an office in the hospital, and can meet with your family, follow up on your tests, and discuss your care with your nurses.
Your hospitalist will see you every day you are in the hospital, sometimes more than once a day. This doctor will work with your primary care doctor, who can give the hospitalist your medical history. The two doctors can discuss any significant issues with your care. This helps your primary care doctor, meanwhile, continue to care for people in your community and know that your healthcare is in the hands of an expert.
These doctors are very familiar with the hospital’s technology systems, facilities, and staff members. They often have close relationships with specialists, like cardiologists and surgeons. A hospitalist can coordinate your care with other specialists and hospital departments, such as physical and occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, social services, and nursing case management.
In short, while making sure you see the same doctor for most of your stay in the hospital, your hospitalist can help make your care more efficient.
March 03, 2015
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA