A hospitalist is a physician who specializes exclusively in caring for hospitalized patients from admission to discharge. Hospitalists are a relatively new specialty in the USA and the term “hospitalist” was first mentioned in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996. Since then, it has become the fastest growing specialty in the United States.
Most hospitalists are board certified in Internal Medicine. Hospitalists typically do not have an outpatient practice and therefore are able to devote their entire workday to the care of their hospitalized patients. If necessary, a patient can be seen several times a day and the hospitalist is always available on the ward to meet with family or other caregivers.
Hospitalists specialize in many aspects of a patient’s care and coordinate it by working closely with the subspecialty physicians or other support services involved. Since hospitalists are the main physician for a hospitalized patient and see him/her daily until discharge, they get to know their patients very well and therefore ensure a smoother hospital stay.