Hospital medicine in the United States is the discipline concerned with general medical care of hospitalized patients. This means that the “hospitalist physician” spends 100 percent of their time in the hospital setting and can treat a wide range of patient populations and are equipped to provide the best possible hospital care. The around-the-clock care can comfort patients with the knowledge that a physician will be available for them when needed and is familiar with each patient’s case and can provide continuous updates to concerned family members.
Today many physicians use hospitalists to care for their patients when they are admitted to the hospital. The hospitalist communicates with your physician, but handles your care during time spent in the hospital and allows the physician to leave patients in the care of knowledgeable doctors familiar with the hospital and who can be reached 24 hours a day. By serving as an easily accessible, centralized resource for information and patient care, hospitalists manage, in some cases, to reduce the length of inpatients stays and at the same time, improve quality of treatment.
Relatively new in the United States, the hospitalist trend has it roots in the United Kingdom and Canada. The need for hospitalists in the US has arisen from changes in medical practice over the past decades and the specialty is growing both in numbers and sophistication. In the last 10 years, the specialty has launched its own professional association and scholarly journal.
At UCSD, our hospitalists become a consistent presence for patients, referring physicians, and resident and medical student learners. The continuity play an invaluable role in patient safety and the smooth running of inpatient services.