Friday, March 12, 2010

Have you ever heard of a "hospitalist?"

I visit Ellee Seymour's blog on occasion; she's been kind enough to return the favor (or, since she's English, I suppose I should say 'favour') from time to time. Ms. Seymour blogs on English politics and apparently enjoys a considerable following.

Earlier this week Ms. Seymour had a post entitled "Introducing the Hospitalist." Per her post, this is "an American concept." An excerpt:
A hospitalist is a medic who cares for all the patient’s needs from the moment he enters hospital, until the moment he leaves. He is also a point of contact when the patient returns home and wants to call and check on medication or has any immediate concerns. Patients and their families often find it hard to take in important medical information and its full implication while in hospital, and it is reassuring for them to know there is one person who is aware of the full facts and, most importantly, is accessible.

As I understand it, the hospitalist is basically a case manager who will liaise with patients and hospital staff to ensure their needs and will follow through all the needs regarding his treatment. They will ensure there is no confusion or misunderstanding surrounding complications, such as when a patient has more than one medical problem and is seeing more than one consultant.
I've never heard of any such thing.

Of course, I'm a middle-aged Dad and, therefore, by definition, clueless on most things, especially if they are in any way trendy. Also, with the significant exception of having most of my colon removed three years ago (how time flies!) I have managed to avoid hospitalizations recently and may, therefore, have a reasonable excuse for not knowing about it.

So, I open up the discussion to the group: Have you ever heard of a "hospitalist?" Have you any experience of this specialty... whether good, bad or indifferent? If you have some information on the topic, leave a comment, please (and, lurkers, please consider yourselves specifically invited to leave a comment as well).

Thank you.
And, if anyone is interested in my own hospitalization story, here are the posts, in chronological order. I thought these were pretty amusing when I wrote them... although, of course, I was heavily drugged up at the time....


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

with as many times as sarge has been in the hospital in the past few months i would have thought i'd have heard of this, but no. never heard of it.

smiles, bee

Going Like Sixty said...

I scanned the articles linked to and didn't see a list of hospitals where hospitalists are working.

The article said there were 20,000 hospitalists.

Wiki says there are 30,000 hospitals.

I'm guessing only very progressive hospitals - teaching and/or private big city hospitals - are using these people.

I think I would like to get my info from the horse's mouth: my surgeon, internist, neurologist, etc. etc. rather than a generalist.

Interesting concept: but with med students graduating with an average of $150,000 in debt, they aren't going to choose this profession because it has to be fairly low pay compared to a specialist.

AND... [up on soapbox] I would much rather have nurses all wear the same color scrubs. Same with therapists and orderlies.

[steps down] breaks ankle and now needs hospitalist. :)

Cathy said...

Oh yes, they are all over the place and more and more of them all the times. Many family doctors no longer go to hospitals to see patients. At hospitals where there are hospitalists they don't go at all.

Fat Doctor (I am not being cocky or nasty, that is the name of her blog)is a hospitalist. Another is The Happy Hospitalist. Fat Doctors blog is now private but you can google Happy's blog and read all about what he does.

When I was just recently in the hospital I had two specialists and also the hospitalist who I saw everyday. I did not once see my own family doc there. I did have an appointment with him in his office the day after I came home.

The hospitalist was in charge of my care from admittance to discharge. He called in the specialists and kept me informed of things.

Shelby said...

Oh yes. heard of hospitalists very much. We've used them on occasion for expert witnesses in med mal cases.

shell said...

Hospitalist has become a dying art, partly because nationwide, giant hospitals are shutting down and patient care has been diverted to outpatient clinics and other ambulatory facilities. Like you said, a hospitalist is a healthcare provider who understands the various aspects of services within the hospital, and who can work with other specialists by coordinating the care.

Your post inspired me to finally write a piece related to the current health debate.