Ask the doctor: How can a hospitalist ease your hospital stay?

March 06, 2019
How can a hospitalist ease your hospital stay?

Being admitted to the hospital can be scary, and you want to know you will be well cared for, whether you have a medical need, a question or just need reassurance. The hospitalist is a licensed practitioner whose primary professional focus is caring for patients while they are in the hospital. Here, internal medicine physician Jennifer Raroque, MD, explains more about their important role.

Q. How are hospitalists trained and assigned?

Most commonly, hospitalists are physicians trained in internal medicine or family medicine. They can also be advance practice registered nurses or physician assistants under the direct supervision of physicians. The Valley Health System has chosen a group of hospitalists to care for patients based on a track record of efficiency, quality and patient satisfaction. Alternatively, your health plan or primary care provider may choose a hospitalist for you.

Q. What is their role in providing care?

Your hospitalist will see you every day to direct your treatment while you are in the hospital, answer questions you or your family may have, and attend to any emergencies that may arise. He or she may consult other doctors to participate in your care and will arrange for any prescriptions you may need when you are discharged.

Q. Will your hospitalist communicate with your primary care provider?

Yes. Your primary care provider and hospitalist communicate with each other during your hospitalization to coordinate your care. There will be a written or verbal sign-out regarding your hospital course and recommendations for follow-up care on discharge. You will not have an appointment to see the hospitalist after discharge; however, you may contact him or her if you have any questions about your hospital stay.

Q. What are the advantages of having a hospitalist?

Hospitalists spend all of their workday in the hospital; therefore, they can provide for more focused care and be readily available if a need arises. Many studies have shown this improves quality of care and efficiency.* Implementation of a hospitalist program decreases cost of care and length of hospital stay for the patient, while improving quality and patient satisfaction.

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*Venkataraman Palabindala & Sohail Abdul Salim (2018) Era of hospitalists, Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives;