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What Is a Hospitalist?

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015

Primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses deliver most healthcare services outside of a hospital setting. However, when an illness requires hospitalization, Doylestown Health hospitalists are trained to provide coordinated, high-quality patient care.

Why Is a Hospitalist Overseeing Your Hospital Stay and Not Your Primary Care Physician?

"The way medicine has transitioned over the years, it can be challenging for a primary care physician to see patients in the office and the hospital at the same time," said Mary Ellen Pelletier, MD, a Doylestown Health hospitalist. "A hospitalist represents the primary care doctors while their patients are in the hospital. We are their patient liaisons."

Board-certified hospitalists at Doylestown Hospital diagnose and treat nearly 80 percent of all admitted patients. The hospitalist service started in 2005. The team has grown to now include 11 full-time physicians, two nurse practitioners and a physician assistant.

What is a Hospitalist?

Hospitalists update the primary care physician when a patient is admitted, inform them of changes in the patient’s medications, and communicate follow-up plans at the time of discharge. They are integral in helping to transition patients from the hospital back to the care of their primary physician once their stay ends.

"The constant communication and coordination of our efforts with primary physicians and family members is extremely important to us," said Oleg Vinnikov, MD, lead hospitalist. "It is one of the main principles that helps Doylestown Hospital hospitalists deliver the best care to our patients."

A key benefit for patients under a hospitalist’s care is increased efficiency. For example, fewer repeated tests and shorter length of stay are typical outcomes. Continuity of care through communication with family doctors is also important to a patient’s recovery.

"Hospitalists adjust their schedules to care for the same patients throughout a hospitalization when possible," said Peter Urffer, MD, FHM, Doylestown Health Hospitalist.

Why a Hospitalist?

Because they are so closely involved in all aspects of inpatient care, hospitalists are uniquely qualified to help improve patient care and experience. At Doylestown Hospital, they serve on nearly all quality improvement teams, from infection prevention to technology innovation. These teams establish improved protocols and identify new opportunities for the health system to deliver quality care.

Doylestown Health hospitalists consistently rank among the best physicians for patient satisfaction scores. They are adept at getting to know their patients and their loved ones during a hospital stay.

"I sit down in the room, meet the patient eye-to-eye and talk with family members. I try to make a bond with a patient and the family," said Dr. Pelletier. Her patients appreciate that bond. "It’s nice when people come back and say, "Thank you for what you did for me’," she added.

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