If you’ve been a patient in Meritus Medical Center at any point over the last six years, chances are your attending physician was not your primary care doctor. That’s because Meritus Health has switched to using hospitalists to provide around-the-clock, on-site, focused care throughout a patient’s stay.
It’s a win-win because primary care physicians who use the hospitalists’ services are freed up from the complexities of hospital medicine and can focus on caring for scheduled patients who come into their office, and patients benefit because the hospitalists are right there, inside the hospital, available at any hour of the day, every day of the week.
“Because we don’t have the worry of seeing office patients,” says Francisco Daniels, DO, hospitalist on staff at Meritus Medical Center, “we’re able to be 100% dedicated to hospital patients.”
This can also translate to increased availability of your primary care physician during office hours – no longer do they need to rush to the hospital to see hospital patients during a busy office day leaving a waiting room full of patients.
It may seem a little scary – your primary care physician, who knows your entire health history, isn’t the one taking care of you in the hospital. But the truth is that primary care physicians can stay in constant communication with the hospitalists to follow their patients’ care, and after discharge, patients will return to their primary care physician for all of their follow-up needs. To ensure continuity in your care, hospitalists share a discharge summary on each patient with your primary care physician so that your family physician is up to speed before any follow-up appointments.
Hospitalists also work closely with other specialists throughout the healthcare system – from gastroenterologists to cardiologists, depending on each patient’s needs. If a consultation with another specialist is needed, the hospitalist will discuss this with the patient and request the appropriate consultation.
Another plus? Hospitalists reduce the amount of time patients stay in the hospital by about one day and lower overall costs by about $1,000, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
By Kayla Murphy
By Kayla Murphy