For more than a decade, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics has used hospitalist care to coordinate the inpatient care of its adult patients. The case management this team puts into place for patients has resulted in shorter hospital stays, controlled treatment costs, and overall efficiency of care.
Hospitalist care or hospital medicine is defined as a “medical specialty dedicated to the delivery of comprehensive medical care to hospitalized patients” including managing the clinical problems of the acutely ill. Hospital medicine most often is provided by a doctor referred to as a hospitalist and can include nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who all work as part of a team to deliver hospitalist care. A hospitalist typically undergoes residency training in general internal medicine, general pediatrics, or family practice but may also receive training in other medical disciplines.
Hospitalists provide prompt and complete attention to all inpatient care needs allowing primary care physician to focus uninterrupted on their office patients. Most likely, any patient hospitalized for an extended period of time will come in contact with a hospitalist. Hospitalists deliver inpatient care in a variety of ways:
Directing care by detecting and treating illnesses causing patients hospitalization
Collaborating, communicating, and coordinating with all doctors and healthcare personnel caring for hospitalized patients
Consulting with other doctors at their request on medical recommendations in managing acute and chronic medical problems in hospitalized patients
Co-managing and supporting care to patients requiring hospitalization as part of a surgery
Communicating with primary care doctors and community care teams to smoothly and safely transition patients out of the hospital