Health Break | Published May 4, 2014 | Written by Jonathan Siuta, MD, Board Certified Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Hospitalist, Mount Nittany Physician Group

Hospitalists streamline patient care

Although the field of hospitalist medicine was founded in 1996 and continues to grow nationally, in many communities hospitalists are quite new to them, and thus there may be questions as to what the role of a hospitalist is, how a hospitalist interacts with a patient’s family physician, and what type of training hospitalists receive. 

To begin, a hospitalist is a medical practitioner whose primary focus is taking care of patients in a hospital setting, with the goal of creating more streamlined care for patients by overseeing and coordinating the patient's care from hospital admission to discharge. 

At Mount Nittany Medical Center, our diverse group of hospitalist physicians are board-certified in internal medicine or family medicine, and because we spend all of our time in the hospital, we are well practiced in the types of concerns and ailments patients may face. 

One of the top priorities of hospital providers is getting to know patients and their health concerns. When a patient is admitted to the hospital, the hospitalist will spend a great deal of time with the patient, gathering information and going over past medical history in order to provide the best care possible while in the hospital. 

In addition, the hospitalist communicates as needed with that patient’s family doctor, and also sends a detailed summary upon discharge from the hospital to provide seamless care from the hospital to the patient's medical home. For example, when the patient is ready to be sent home, all medical record information, treatment needs, dietary concerns, medication information and much more is communicated with the family doctor so that there is no lapse in care. Patients will then continue to follow-up with their family doctor, and in many cases a specialist physician, after they leave the hospital. 

It is important to remember that the majority of medical care that patients receive still comes from their family doctor in the office setting. However, if an individual needs to be admitted to the hospital, many hospitals like Mount Nittany Medical Center employ hospitalists to take care of those patients, thus allowing the patient’s family doctor to spend more time in his or her office. This in turn can help reduce wait times for appointments and allow family physicians to devote all of their time to meeting the needs of their patients in the clinic.

At Mount Nittany Medical Center, we have a staff of knowledgeable and skilled hospitalists who take turns rotating shifts so that there are providers on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

If questions or concerns arise at any time during a hospital stay, patients should let their nurse know if they would like to speak with the hospitalist, as we are always available to address the needs of patients and their family members.