The Multi-Faceted Role of a Hospitalist


A series of recent studies examine the different roles that hospitalists can play when caring for the physical and mental health of their patients.

Several recent studies examine the many roles that hospitalists have in the treatment of patients. The studies examine the impact that hospitalists have on the management of a patient’s illness as well as how hospitalists interact and communicate with patients in regard to medical and other concerns.

Studying Physician—patient Communication in the Acute Care Setting: The Hospitalist Rapport StudyJournal: Patient Education and Counseling (May 2010)

Authors: Anderson W, Winters K, Arnold R, et al.

Purpose: To examine “the feasibility of studying physician—patient communication in the acute care setting.”

Results: Physicians were primarily concerned about how participation in the study would interfere with workflow, although the researchers note that “physician concerns for participating in communication studies are similar in ambulatory and acute care settings.” They also note that “the acute care setting presents novel challenges for patient recruitment and data collection.”

The Hospitalist as Coordinator: An Observational Case StudyJournal: Journal of Health Organization and Management (January 2010)

Authors: Burkhardt U, Erbsen A, Rudiger-Sturchler M

Purpose: To examine how the hospitalist function emerges and unfolds on wards in regard to interaction patterns and the role of the hospitalist.

Results: The hospitalist’s role was perceived to be a positive one, with this physician serving as “an informal leader” who takes as many as five interrelated, mostly coordinative roles, that are designed to help cope with different organizational gaps.

The Role of Hospitalists in the Acute Care of Stroke PatientsJournal: Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine (June 2010)

Authors: Amin A, Likosky D

Purpose: To examine the role of “new players” in the treatment of stroke patients.

Results: These new physicians, be they they vascular neurologists, neurohospitalists, internal medicine hospitalists, or neurocritical care physicians, “are poised to make a significant impact on our care of stroke patients.” The researchers speculate that the collaborative model of care may become “the most prevalent as physicians apply their distinct skill sets to the complex care of inpatients with cerebrovascular disease.”

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