How can I work with my hospitalist?
Alan I. Leibowitz, MD is chief academic officer for Banner Arizona.
Question: What are hosptialists and how can I work with them to improve my care?
Answer: Hospitalists provide focused care during your hospital stay
Over the past several years, there has been a shift in which doctor provides the medical care for patients in the hospital. Primary care doctors spend most of their time in their offices seeing patients and spend little or no time caring for their hospitalized patients. Family doctors used to conduct “rounds” on their patients in the hospital, either first thing in the morning, at the end of the day, or both. Now, much of the inpatient care role is being filled by specialized physicians called ‘hospitalists.’ And, that’s a good thing.
A hospitalist’s professional focus is caring for patients in the hospital. This focus allows them to become more expert in hospital care and to be more readily available than physicians who work both in the office and the hospital.
After you leave the hospital, the hospitalist team is responsible for communicating with your personal doctor so that he or she is fully informed and can resume your care. And, always remember, the MOST important person on your care team is YOU, or a person you have designated in the event you can’t speak for yourself. If you don’t know or aren’t sure who someone is, or if you sense something isn’t right…SPEAK UP.
Here’s a check-list of what you should expect from your hospitalist physician, adapted from the Society of Hospital Medicine (www.hospitalmedicine.org):
- Prompt and complete attention to all of your care needs including diagnosis, treatment, and the performance of medical procedures (within their scope of practice).
- Collaboration, communication, and coordination with all physicians and healthcare personnel caring for you
- Safe transition of your care within the hospital, and from the hospital to the community, which may include oversight of care in post-acute care facilities.
- Provides safe, quality and efficient care for you in the hospital.
You may notice that the majority of these items include communication, communication, communication – with you, other physicians, your primary care physicians and the members of your health care team in the hospital.
Reviewed: October 2010