- A hospital-based general physician. Hospitalists assume the care of hospitalized patients in the place of patients’ primary care physician. The term "hospitalist" was first introduced in 1996 by RM Wachter and L Goldman to describe physicians who devote much of their professional time and focus to the care of hospitalized patients. In the most prevalent American model of hospitalist care, several doctors practice together as a group and work full-time caring for inpatients. Hospitalists are familiar figures. Doctors specializing in intensive care have long taken care of patients admitted to the ICU by primary care doctors; geriatricians working in nursing homes have often admitted patients to the care of their hospital-based colleagues; etc. "Thus," notes HC Sox, "the hospitalist model (of care) is not new (in the U.S.), but it is growing rapidly as a result of the role of managed care organizations, the increasing complexity of inpatient care, and the pressures of busy outpatient practices." References Wachter RM, Goldman L. The emerging role of "hospitalists" in the American health care system. N Engl J Med. 1996;335:514-7. Sox HC. The Hospitalist Model: Perspectives of the Patient, the Internist, and Internal Medicine. Ann Intern Med. 1999;130:368-372. The Annals of Internal Medicine issue of 16 February 1999 contains an excellent supplement devoted to "The Hospitalist Movement in the United States."
* * *1. A physician whose professional activities are performed chiefly within a hospital, e.g., anesthesiologists, emergency department physicians, intensivists (intensive care specialists), pathologists, and radiologists. SYN: hospital-based physician. 2. A primary care physician (not a house officer) who assumes responsibility for the observation and treatment of hospitalized patients and returns them to the care of their private physicians when they are discharged from the hospital. [hospital + -ist] Hospitalists may be employees of a hospital or HMO, contractors, or private practitioners. Hospital-based primary care physicians free general practitioners from the need to make daily rounds to visit hospitalized patients. While the availability of physicians oriented to inpatient care improves the efficiency of health care delivery and shortens hospital stays, some have viewed it as a threat to the integrity of the traditional patient-physician relationship. Organized medicine has opposed contractual relationships, including managed-care arrangements, whereby private physicians are required to turn over to a h. the care of all patients admitted to a hospital. While this arrangement bears many similarities to the British system of consultants and general practitioners, some have noted that limiting primary care physicians to office practice may lead to a weakening of critical diagnostic and therapeutic skills and a decline of prestige among both colleagues and the public. The impact of the h. system on medical education and on the hospital staff system, whereby practitioners and consultants maintain staff “privileges” by providing inpatient care to their own patients in compliance with regulations or by-laws, has also raised concerns.
* * *hos·pi·tal·ist 'häs-(.)pit-əl-əst n a physician who specializes in seeing and treating other physicians' hospitalized patients in order to minimize the number of hospital visits by the patients' regular physicians
* * *hos·pi·tal·ist (hosґpĭ-təl-ist) a physician specializing in hospital inpatient care; called also hospital-based or inpatient physician.
Medical dictionary. 2011.