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What's A Hospitalist?

Understanding the role of a new kind of specialist

At many hospitals across the country, patients are cared for by hospitalists during their stay. The following questions and answers help explain what hospitalists are and how they take care of you.

Q. I heard that when I’m a patient at Atrium Medical Center, a hospitalist might be a key person on my care team. Why is that? What’s a hospitalist?
Some family doctors are now asking hospitalists to provide physician services for their hospitalized patients. Hospitalists are physicians who complete residency training in internal medicine or family medicine, followed by board certification. They work only in the hospital and are entirely focused on hospitalized patients.

Q. How will I know if I’ll be cared for by a hospitalist?
Ask your family doctor if that’s the policy of his or her practice.

Q. What’s the advantage of having a hospitalist?
Instead of your family doctor visiting you perhaps once a day, your hospitalist is available to care for you as needed, around the clock. Because they work only in the hospital, hospitalists can see you multiple times in the same day if necessary.

Q. Will just one hospitalist take care of me?
To provide you with immediate care, 24/7, you’ll have a team of hospitalists caring for you.

Q. What does the hospitalist do for me?
The hospitalist team takes care of you throughout your stay, making sure you have the right tests and procedures. Because the hospitalist works closely with every specialist and department at Atrium Medical Center, you’ll benefit from his or her expertise and familiarity with hospital procedures.

Q. Does the hospitalist communicate with my family doctor?
Absolutely. First, your primary care physician provides information about your health history to the hospitalist. Then these physicians communicate with one another about any significant findings or events during your stay. Of course, at discharge time, the hospitalist provides your family doctor with details about your hospitalization.

Q. What happens after I’m discharged?
You return to the care of your primary care physician.

Q. Will I receive a bill from the hospitalist?
Yes. You’ll receive a separate bill for the hospitalist’s services, just as you would from any physician.

For more information on hospitalists at Atrium Medical Center, contact Physician Advocate Amy Newland at (513) 420-5067.

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