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Health Care Market Trends and the Evolution of Hospitalist Use and Roles

February 2005
Journal of General Internal Medicine, Vol. 20, Issue No. 1 (February 2005)
Hoangmai H. Pham, Kelly Devers, Sylvia Kuo, Robert A. Berenson

Mounting financial pressures, increasing problems with patient flow in hospitals, a growing focus on patient safety, and rising malpractice costs have spurred the use of a new breed of physicians who specialize in caring for hospitalized patients. Known as hospitalists, the number of physicians specializing in hospital medicine has increased from a few hundred in the mid-1990s to more than 8,000 in 2003, according to information in the HSC study provided by the Society for Hospital Medicine, the professional society of hospitalists.

Hospitalists most commonly care for patients whose physicians prefer not to provide inpatient care or who lack admitting privileges. However, hospitalists’ clinical roles are expanding, for example, as they increasingly substitute for intensivists in intensive care units (ICUs), team with subspecialists to care for complicated patients, function as primary attending physicians in skilled-nursing facilities and care for nursing home patients hospitalized at night.

For a full copy of this article please visit the Journal of General Internal Medicine Web site. (Subscription required.)


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The Center for Studying Health System Change Ceased operation on Dec. 31, 2013.