Hospitalists: how to work with a hospitalist

BOSTON, MA — If you're in the hospital, you may find yourself under the care of a hospitalist: a physician who manages your care in the hospital, then transfers responsibility back to your regular doctor when you're discharged. Although some clinicians worry that this system may disrupt the traditional doctor-patient relationship, many agree that hospitalists can better attend to the needs of hospitalized patients and more effectively navigate the increasingly complex hospital system. However, close communication between the hospitalist and your regular doctor is crucial, reports the December 2006 issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch.

The term "hospitalist" was introduced 10 years ago to describe "a new breed of physicians" that provide care only in the hospital setting. Now, it's the fastest growing medical specialty in the United States. Hospitalists complete medical school and postgraduate training in internal medicine, family practice, or pediatrics.

While a hospitalist is likely to provide up-to-date and efficient treatment, ensuring communication and continuity of care takes extra effort—by everyone. Some things you can do:

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