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Hospitalists at Fort Memorial Hospital bring specialized care to the bedside

Health, Wellness & You
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

For patients admitted to Fort Memorial Hospital, being seen by a hospitalist can mean improved outcomes and specialized care. Through frequent communication with patient’s primary care physicians, hospitalists only treat hospitalized patients and do not have a regular clinic practice. Because of this they are highly experienced in caring for persons with illnesses serious enough to require hospital care.

“Fort HealthCare patients will continue to see their primary care physician at the doctor’s office. This relationship will not be affected,” says Alan Detwiler, MD, clinical lead of the Fort HealthCare Hospitalist Program. “It is only when a patient is admitted to Fort Memorial Hospital for non-surgical care that a hospitalist may become the attending physician and supervises all aspects of medical care.”

Many studies have shown that hospitalists help reduce lengths of stay, reduce treatment costs and improve the efficiency of care for hospitalized patients. Hospitalists have also been shown to reduce mortality rates, improve clinical outcomes and positively impact the quality of medical care and patient satisfaction.

Hospitalists at Fort HealthCare are physicians board-certified in the medical specialty of internal medicine and have additional training in caring for patients with critical illnesses. The field of Hospital Medicine is revolutionizing the care of hospitalized patients and is the fastest growing medical specialty in the U.S. An estimated 28,000 hospitalists practice today; eighty two percent are trained in general internal medicine.

Where is my primary care doctor?

Primary care physicians at Fort HealthCare can continue to attend to hospitalized patients, if they wish. It is optional for Fort HealthCare physicians to participate in the Hospitalist Program. Any primary care physician who continues to be the attending physician may consult with the hospitalists at any time. Also, hospitalists may be asked to consult on surgical patients when patients have other medical conditions that may require monitoring. Fort HealthCare hospitalists only see adult patients and do not care for obstetric patients or patients of surgical specialists (urology, orthopedics, general surgery) unless a consult is requested.

Hospitalist programs improve quality and reduce costs

There are many advantages of hospitalists in the care of inpatients. First, hospitalists have more expertise in caring for complex medical situations on a daily basis. Second, they are available around the clock to meet with family members, follow-up on tests, answer nurses’ questions and immediately address any issues that may arise. In many instances, hospitalists may see a patient throughout the day to assure care is going according to plan, and to speak with patients and family members. During this time, the primary care doctor is able to be in his or her clinic for regularly scheduled appointments.

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. And when necessary, patients 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. Last, Fort HealthCare patients now enjoy better access to their doctor in the clinics where the majority of acute and preventive care should be delivered.

Relationship with primary care physician will continue as usual

Upon discharge, the hospitalist will prescribe medications, make any arrangements for follow-up care and communicate with the primary care doctor regarding further treatments. The entire medical team, made up of physicians, nurses, therapists and others will provide input into a patient’s discharge plan. Patients referred to hospitalists by their primary care physicians for treatment during hospitalization are returned to the care of their regular physicians after discharge and the long-standing relationship that existed between doctor and patient will continue as usual.

For more information, or to view our Hospitalists’ profiles, visit