JOPLIN, MO-- You've heard of a pediatrician and a heart surgeon ... and probably know what a radiologist is. But more and more medical facilities have hospitalists on staff to take care of patients.
"There's a one in three chance you'll see us if you come to Freeman." One of the 17 hospitalists based at Freeman. Dr. Hameed Ahmad is the director of Freeman Hospitalist Services. "Hopsitalists are physicians that are dedicated to provide care to the hospitalized patient."
The job hasn't always existed. In fact, there were very few hospitalists in the mid 90s - now there are more than 20,000. "Now when the concept of hospitalists started, what happened is that it not only improved the quality of care provided through the hospital, it also improved the efficiency of care that patients received. And the hospitalists did it at a much lower cost for the health care facilities. And for the patients, their length of stay were significantly shorter."
Hospitalists coordinate with specialists... and the impact treatment decisions could have in the long term. "After a long stay, when you are released from the hospital, there is a complex follow up plan that needs to be put in place. And every single specialist may have their own requirements on that. So a hospitalist is the one, the man behind the wheel, who puts all those things in place."