Hospitalized. Where's My Doctor?
Updated: May 12, 2021
Anyone who has been hospitalized within the past ten years has most likely had their care directed by a hospitalist. A hospitalist is a doctor who practices medicine in the hospital setting. Most hospitalists are internal medicine physicians who choose to practice hospital medicine.
The practice of hospital medicine has grown over the years mainly due to the complex medical situation of patients requiring hospitalization and also out of financial concerns for the hospitalist. It is the hospitalist who is overseeing the care of the hospitalized patient. Gone are the days when your primary care doctor was the who managed your hospital stay.
There are several benefits for having a hospitalist overseeing your hospital care. They are based solely at the hospital so they are available throughout the day. The traditional primary care doctor used to make hospital rounds in the morning and then be at their office seeing patients for the majority of the day. This availability enables the hospitalist to deal with medical issues in a timely manner, be available to talk with family members throughout the day, and be able to see the patient throughout the day if needed.
There are also disadvantages to the hospitalist model. The hospitalist is probably meeting you for the first time when you are hospitalized. They do not know the details of your medical history as well as your primary care doctor. There is usually some communication between your primary care doctor and the hospitalist upon admission and discharge. Medical details can be overlooked during the transition between outpatient and inpatient situations.
My role as a healthcare advocate ensures the proper communication between your outpatient doctors and your inpatient medical team. I communicate daily with your doctors both inside and outside the hospital to allow your outpatient doctors to know your current situation and get their opinions on your hospital care. I am also the link between your physicians and the hospital upon your discharge. I am the communication bridge so that you and your healthcare needs have a smooth transition between the hospital and the outpatient setting.
If you or a relative are struggling with the management of your healthcare needs, reach out to me, Melissa Hakim MD, Healthcare Advocate: your personal healthcare advisor.