What is a hospitalist?

Some patients are startled when they are admitted to the hospital and are visited by a hospitalist, rather than their specialist or primary care physician. Many want to know what a hospitalist even is.

“A hospitalist is a physician or a physician extender who primarily works in a hospital and not in an office. So we see only hospitalized patients,” said Dr. Rajeev Prakash, ADC Internal Medicine hospitalist.

The Austin Diagnostic Clinic has several hospitalists who specialize in internal medicine. They care for patients once they have been admitted to the hospital by coordinating with the hospital, primary care physicians and specialists. They also make sure to communicate with patients and their families.

Hospitalists also understand patients’ needs once they have been admitted to a hospital. Dr. Prakash says inpatient care is quite different from outpatient care.

“By being full-time hospitalists, we’re very up-to-date and in-tune with the standards of care,” said Dr. Prakash. “Much like your doctor is spending a lot of time in the office doing what they do best – taking care of outpatients.”

Research has show that hospitalists can reduce the amount of time a patient stays in the hospital as well as the cost of treatment. According to a 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average hospital patient stay was lowered 12 percent by hospitalists.

I think our presence here during your hospital stay leaves you reassured that someone who knows your case is available during your whole hospital stay every day,” said Dr. Prakash.