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St. James Hospital / Services & Specialties / Hospitalist Program

Hospitalist Program

What is a Hospitalist?

Our hospitalists provide 24/7 treatment and are readily available to discuss your care with you and your family. Here are some common questions regarding our hospitalist program. A hospitalist is a doctor of medicine (usually an internist), who specializes in caring for you while you are in the hospital. A hospitalist acts as your primary doctor while you are an inpatient, and is in frequent contact with your primary care physician—whether your admission is planned or an emergency.

How do Patients Benefit from the Hospitalist Program?

  • Shorter waiting time for a bed. The hospitalist helps speed up the process of getting patients admitted from the Emergency Room.
  • Better communication. Because hospitalists only work in the hospital, they can spend time talking to you and your family. The hospitalist becomes the center point for communication so that the patient, family, primary care physician, and specialists all talk with the same person.
  • Personalized, family-centered care. Since hospitalists practice fulltime in the hospital, they are available whenever you or a family member has a question regarding medical care. You don’t have to wait for your primary care physician makes rounds to share your concerns or get answers.
  • Shorter hospital stay. Having the hospitalist act as provider and coordinator of your care eliminates much of the wait time for tests, results, and consultations. The hospitalist makes sure each step happens in a timely manner, and this can reduce your length of stay by as much as a day.
  • Quicker discharge. Patients can wait all day for their physician to arrive or for a surgeon to finish other cases and release them from the hospital. The hospitalist can give discharge approval more quickly, to get you on your way home sooner.
  • Better quality of care. In case of an emergency while you’re in the hospital, your hospitalist is nearby and will see you several times a day, if needed. Your hospitalist knows every specialist and department in the hospital, and will follow up on tests and adjust your treatment throughout the day as needed.

How will my Primary Care Physician Know About my Condition?

Hospitalists may talk to primary care physicians at the time of admission and obtain important records from them. During hospitalization, they may talk further regarding your treatment. The hospitalist will send your hospital records to your primary care physician.

Will the Hospitalist be Involved in Follow-up Care?

Usually your relationship with the hospitalist is limited to the time you are a patient in the hospital. Hospitalists do, however, make themselves available to primary care physicians and specialists for consultations. Your primary care doctor will continue to be your regular provider after you leave the hospital.