How hospitalist care leads to a better hospital stay

March 03, 2011 By Neeraj Kalra, M.D.

Inpatient-focused care is a growing trend in many hospitals today. In line with that focus, some hospitals have created a team of healthcare professionals—hospitalists—who devote 100 percent of their time to coordinating care for hospitalized patients. These members of your healthcare team are physicians trained and board-certified in internal medicine. Since they're based solely in the hospital, they're able to treat patients more quickly and provide more predictable patient visits.

How it works
When you are admitted to the hospital, your hospitalist will get your medical history, examine you and review data from any diagnostic tests you have had in order to develop a diagnosis. The hospitalist will communicate with your primary care physician (PCP) to let him or her know you have been admitted and to gather any additional information about your medical history. During your stay, your hospitalist and PCP will communicate about your treatment arrangements and appropriate follow-up care plans, allowing you the opportunity to get back home as soon as possible.

You should feel confident knowing that your hospitalist is relaying all information to your PCP. Your PCP will be notified of your discharge and given everything he or she needs to provide quality follow-up care, including any changes in medications while you were hospitalized and the results of any tests done during admission.

Other benefits: A hospitalist can often be at a patient's bedside in minutes for emergencies, and treatment decisions can be made quickly, in consultation with the patient and his/her family members. In addition, with a hospitalist, your family will be able to ask questions and get the answers they need right in the hospital. Oftentimes your family has questions and concerns about your condition and treatment and your PCP might not always be present. Hospitalists can visit with patients or family members any time during the day.

While no one necessarily enjoys being hospitalized, hospitalists work to ensure you have a mostly stress-free and positive experience.

Neeraj Kalra, M.D., is associate director of The Hospital of Central Connecticut's Hospitalist Service.