When admitted to the hospital, chances are patients will not be seen seen by their primary care physician during their hospitalization. As a result, many patients ask questions such as:
- Where is my doctor?
- Why isn’t my doctor here to oversee my healthcare while I’m in the hospital?
- How does on my primary care physician know that I am in the hospital?
- Is my own doctor going to be updated about my care?
The reason is a relatively new trend in the care of hospitalized patients. Hospitalist is the term used for doctors who are specialized in the care of patients in the hospital. This movement was initiated about a decade ago and has evolved due to many factors which include:
- Financial strains on primary care doctors
- Patient safety
- Cost-effectiveness for hospitals
- Need for more specialized and coordinated care for hospitalized patients.
Hospitalists also coordinate the care of patients’ in the hospital and are "captain of the ship." They are the physicians who organize communication with physicians and serve as the point of contact for other physicians and nurses regarding questions, updates, and delineating a comprehensive plan of care. They are also the main physician for family members to contact for updates on a loved one.