If you have or someone you know has recently been admitted to a hospital, chances are that they were not 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. These factors 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 that organize the communication between different doctors caring for a patient and serve as the point of contact for other doctors and nurses for 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.
So next time you or someone you know are admitted to the hospital, do not get offended that your primary care doctor will not be caring for you in the hospital. Rest assured that the hospitalist doctor rendering the care has the qualification to provide you optimal care during your hospital stay.