What is a hospitalist?
Hospitalists are doctors whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients.
Their activities may include:
- Patient care
- Leadership related to hospital care
Hospital medicine is a specialty organized around a site of care (the hospital) rather than an organ (like cardiology), a disease (like oncology), or a patient's age (like pediatrics). However, unlike medical specialists in the emergency department or critical care units, hospitalists help manage patients through the continuum of hospital care, often seeing patients in the ER, following them into the critical care unit and organizing post-acute care. (Society of Hospital Medicine website FAQs)
The hospitalist service at LDS Hospital is comprised of a group of eight board certified internists who provide around the clock care for anywhere from 25 to 50 inpatients.
Patients are referred to the service from outpatient physicians, the LDS Hospital emergency department, and outlying medical facilities all over the Intermountain West. In addition they provide consultative services for all medical and surgical specialties at LDS Hospital and are an integral part of the residency teaching program.
What do hospitalists treat?
The LDS Hospitalists treat a wide range of medical illnesses involving any of the major organ systems of the body; most patients are elderly and have chronic, multi-system disease. A substantial number of patients, however, are adolescent to middle age and may have one or more different illnesses. When medically indicated, other specialists are involved with diagnosis and treatment.
What happens at discharge?
After discharge from the hospital the patient's usual primary care physician is contacted with relevant information regarding the hospital course and recommendations for follow-up care. The patient is usually requested to see his or her primary care physician within a week to follow up on the hospital stay. Most primary care physicians are able to follow the patient's course while in the hospital via Intermountain's integrated computer system which is accessible through the internet.
Because of their expertise and focus on medical care of the hospitalized patient, the LDS hospitalists have been able to improve the efficiency with which care is being delivered in the hospital, often leading to shortened length of stay.
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