About Hospitalist Program
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
What is a Hospitalist?
Hospitalists are physicians trained in caring for patients who have been admitted to the hospital. Typically, these physicians are trained in general internal medicine or family practice. Because hospitalists only treat hospitalized patients and do not have a regular clinic practice, they are available twenty four hours per day for inpatient care. An estimated 28,000 hospitalists practice today. Hospital medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty in the U.S.
Why Am I Being Cared For By a Hospitalist?
Your primary care physician has asked a hospitalist to care for you throughout your stay at Fort Memorial Hospital. The Hospitalist and any other consulting specialists as indicated are in charge of all your medical care while you are an inpatient.
It is optional for Fort HealthCare primary care physicians to participate in the Hospitalist Program. Some primary care physicians have elected to continue caring for their hospitalized patients. They may consult with the hospitalists at any time as this service is available to all physicians. Also, hospitalists may be asked to consult on surgical patients when patients have other medical conditions that may require monitoring.
You are encouraged to contact your primary care physician and ask if he or she will be your attending physician should you be hospitalized, or, if your care will be managed by a hospitalist. Of course, your Fort HealthCare primary care physician can visit with you at any time during your hospitalization.
Persons admitted to the hospital without a regular primary care physician will be cared for by the hospitalist. If needed, we can assist you in finding a regular physician upon your discharge.
Will My Primary Care Physician Be Involved In My Care?
The hospitalist will advise your primary care doctor of your admission and he or she will receive regular reports on your treatment. When you are ready for discharge, your hospitalist will prescribe medications, make any arrangements for your follow-up care and communicate with your doctor regarding further treatments based on input from the entire clinical team. Your regular doctor will take over managing your care as soon as you are discharged and your long-standing relationship will continue as usual. In fact, you may find it easier to make appointments with your doctor as they will be spending more time in the clinic and less time at the hospital.
How Will the Hospitalist Get to Know Me?
When you are admitted to the hospital, the hospitalist will review your medical record and meet with you and your family to learn more about your condition. Your primary care physician will also be contacted to obtain your medical record and to help the hospitalist better understand your medical history.
How Do Hospitalist Programs Result in Better Care?
Research has shown that hospitalist care has resulted in shorter hospital stays, lower treatment costs and fewer medical errors. Most important, patients recover faster as the physicians are practiced in the care of common acute illnesses, can recognize and diagnose unusual disorders, and will rapidly respond to crises. Hospitalists are always available to patients and families as they provide medical coverage around the clock, every day of the week. This helps them to monitor your treatment throughout your stay, order and follow-up on tests as needed and respond quickly in case of an emergency. As a result, you may be able to go home faster.
Hospitalists have established close working relationships with Fort Memorial Hospital nursing and other clinical staff, resulting in enhanced teamwork, better communication and increased patient safety. They serve on many hospital committees whose charge it is to improve the quality of care.
Your Best Interests Are Ours, Too.
While the Hospitalist Program at Fort Memorial Hospital may be a significant departure from the traditional physician-inpatient relationship that has existed for many years, we are confident that the benefits of this program will become evident very quickly. Hospitalists help reduce lengths of stay and treatment costs as well as improve the efficiency of care for hospitalized patients. Hospitalists have also been shown to reduce rates of serious illness, improve clinical outcomes and positively impact the quality of medical care and patient satisfaction.
We believe you will enjoy better access to your doctor in the clinics where the majority of acute and preventive care should be delivered. And when necessary, you and other patients will find that the 24-hour per day care provided by a hospitalist is an efficient and effective complement to the care offered by one’s primary care physician.