What is a hospitalist?
A hospitalist is a fully-qualified medical doctor who specializes in treating patients in the hospital (rather than in a clinic), providing care for a variety of complex medical conditions. Hospitalists treat patients who do not have a primary care physician or whose primary physician has chosen to work with a hospitalist to provide inpatient care to his/her patients.
The benefits of a hospitalist program
In the past, physicians visited their patients in the hospital frequently. Now, physicians' primary focus is caring for the large number of patients who visit their offices, which means that they have much less time to spend with their hospitalized patients. In addition, if a patient’s physician lives out of the area, it is even harder for that physician to care for the hospitalized patient. A hospitalist fills this important role in patient care.
The hospitalist acts as a case manager, ordering tests and coordinating care with any specialists involved in the patient's care. Since the hospitalist is on site at the hospital, he/she is available to speak with other physicians, follow up on testing, and provide overall care to the patient.
How your primary care physician refers patients to Hurley Medical Center’s Academic Hospitalist Program
Your physician will have made arrangements in advance for a Hurley hospitalist to take care of you. Once you are admitted to the hospital, the hospitalist will meet with you and discuss your case with your primary care physician. He or she will also maintain contact with you and your physician during your stay.
• ER Admissions
If you are admitted through Hurley's Emergency Room, the hospitalist will notify your physician that you are in the hospital and will discuss any medications or details about your care.
• Direct Admissions
If your physician refers you to the hospital for admission from his/her office, the physician will request Hurley's Admissions Office to transfer your care to the Hurley Academic Hospitalist service.
Communication between your hospitalist and your primary care physician
Throughout your stay at Hurley Medical Center, your hospitalist communicates with your primary physician to discuss your care, from the time you are admitted to the hospital until you are discharged. Within 24 hours of your discharge, your primary physician will receive a detailed summary of your hospitalization. The hospitalist will inform your primary physician about the medications prescribed and recommend any necessary treatments or follow-up tests and appointments. Following discharge, your primary doctor resumes care, and any questions you may have should be referred to your primary doctor.