The term "hospitalist" defines physicians who provide care for hospitalized patients. Hospitalists are board-certified internal medicine physicians who serve as liaisons between primary physicians and their patients, taking over for the primary physician at the point of the patient's admittance to the hospital, but only at the physician's request. Hospitalists focus on getting the patient well and discharged.
Hospitalists are available 24/7 to assist with admissions and discharges, medication reconciliation, medical management, treatments, consultations and preoperative evaluations. Because their focus is caring for hospitalized patients, they gain experience in the unique aspects of patient needs during hospitalization. Hospitalists, who have no outside practices, track patient progress on a daily basis and communicate the results to the referring physician. Hospitalists can admit patients through direct referral from a physician or through emergency department referrals.