The Role of Hospitalists and Intensivists

With the need for more specialized and coordinated care for hospitalized patients today, hospitalists and intensivists are changing the way patients are cared for in the hospital setting. Mark Olszyk, M.D., vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer, explains how these providers coordinate your care at the hospital.

What is a hospitalist?
A hospitalist is a health care provider who specializes in the care of patients in the hospital. This can be a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

What is an intensivist?
An intensivist is a physician (M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in the care of critically ill patients, most often in the critical care unit. They can be internists or internal medicine sub-specialists (most often pulmonologists), anesthesiologists, emergency medicine physicians, pediatricians (including neonatologists) or surgeons who have completed a fellowship in critical care medicine. An intensivist must be competent in a broad spectrum of conditions common among critically ill patients and procedures used in the intensive care setting.

How do these in-house providers work with my family doctor?
Hospitalists coordinate the care of patients in the hospital and organize communication between the various doctors caring for a patient. Hospitalists communicate with your personal physician during a hospitalization, usually once upon admission and again prior to discharge from the hospital.

Why did the hospital move toward this model of care?
Hospitalists are experts in caring for complicated hospitalized patients on a daily basis. They also are more available to meet with family members, follow-up on tests, answer nurses’ questions and deal with problems that may arise on the spot.

Because hospitalists are always available, we have seen shorter lengths of stay, better communication, efficient discharges, and fewer complications and readmissions, which helps reduce overall costs to the patient and to the health care system.

Pictured above: Kim Baker, P.A.-C., director of adult hospitalist and ICU services

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