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What is Hospital Medicine and Who is a Hospitalist?

Hospital Medicine is the medical specialty dedicated to the delivery of comprehensive medical care to hospitalized patients and is the fastest growing medical specialty due to the increasing demand for hospitalists throughout the nation.

Hospitalist enjoy a wealth of benefits, including:

  • Flexible schedules and positive work-life balance
  • Academic and teaching opportunities
  • Opportunity to lead patient care teams
  • Care for patients with a variety of acute conditions
  • Focus on patient safety and improving outcomes

Armed with the understanding of different practice options, a prospective hospitalist will be able to choose a program that best meshes with individual, family and career goals. There are many practice options ranging from working directly for a hospital or academic institution, to working for a large national group. Hospital Employed:

About 40 percent of hospitalists are employed directly by the hospital. The hospital usually provides either complete salary support, or base pay with supplemental income based on performance. Because hospitalists will not often generate enough revenue from patient care alone, their value to hospitals can be measured by their assistance with different challenges, including:

  • Care of patients who do not have primary care physicians (ED unassigned )
  • Coordination of care: Improving hospital throughput, decreasing length of stay and discharge planning
  • Cost-effective, resource utilization
  • Surgical co-management
  • 24-hour in-house coverage: Can assist with rapid response teams, code blues and cross-covering
  • Hospital leadership: Can assist with quality improvement initiatives
  • Staff education
  • JCAHO/CMS hospital accreditation
  • Medical directorships/Committee service

Career Opportunities

Potential advantages of working for a hospital-based practice include a stable income, flexible hours and an ability to have leadership and administrative responsibilities. Disadvantages include vulnerability Academic Hospitalists:

The academic setting offers a wide variety of career options for hospitalists. Typically, academic hospitalists are employees of the university and hold faculty positions, generally beginning at the clinical instructor or assistant professor level. Academic hospitalist positions can be loosely grouped into the following three categories, although there is often considerable overlap between these job descriptions.