Remember how it played out on the hit TV show, “ER”? Paramedics raced down the hallway as they rolled a gurney carrying a critically injured patient into a packed emergency room of doctors and nurses rapidly getting to work to save a life. On the show, vital communication flowed naturally and in an orderly medical rhythm. In a real life hospital setting, it takes a specially coordinated effort to maintain communications links between all doctors, nurses and the admitted patient – a role fulfilled by the hospitalist.
Simply put, a hospitalist is a doctor specializing in the practice of hospital medicine – a specific focus on the comprehensive medical care of hospitalized patients. A hospitalist does not take over for a patient’s primary care physician. On the contrary, the hospital-based physician bridges the relationship and communications between the patient’s own doctor and all the medical professionals assisting during a hospital stay.
“Whenever you see a doctor come into a patient’s hospital room on TV, the first thing they always do is check the chart at the end of the bed to get the latest on diagnosis and treatment,” said Ajay Madhani, M.D., CEO of Advanced Inpatient Specialists, a 24-hour hospitalist service based in Vernon Hills. “The hospitalist now delivers much more than the chart ever could – monitoring treatment, keeping their patient informed as well as keeping everyone in the hospital patient’s circle of care in the loop on treatments and progress.”
In fact, recent research has shown that patients under hospitalist-provided care are less likely to be readmitted. The Society of Hospital Medicine (www.hospitalmedicine.org) cites a 2008 community hospital study where hospitalists helped reduce the risk of patient readmissions by a whopping 41.8 percent. That same study also found that hospitalists increased coordination of care by 13.2%.
Coordination of communication and care are two key components of how a hospitalist helps patients from the time they’re admitted to the time they’re discharged. Not only does a hospitalist keep a patient’s primary care physician consistently informed with medical updates, but hospital-based physicians keep every specialist and nurse attending to a particular patient informed about the latest test results, treatments and changes in care – a medical concierge in the patient’s corner.
“With the rapid growth of hospitalist care keeping pace with tremendous advances in medical technology and treatments, hospital patients always have someone to turn to for in-depth explanations about their condition and care options,” added Dr. Madhani. “Think of the hospitalist as the quarterback of your medical team, teaming up with a primary care physician and the hospital’s medical staff to coordinate a game plan to get you out of the hospital and back on your feet ASAP.”
To learn more about the role of hospitalists, health insurance coverage for hospital-based physicians and Advanced Inpatient Specialists, please visit www.aichospitalist.com or call 847-535-7736.