You may never have heard of a hospitalist, but you probably have benefitted from their behind-the-scenes work. Amy sits down with hospitalist Robert Cho, MD, to find out how hospitalists serve their patients.
Hospitalists are facilitators between chronically ill patients, the hospital, and the patients’ primary care physicians. This facilitation is necessary because chronically ill patients’ needs sometimes go beyond what their primary care doctor can provide. However, Dr. Cho points out, patients’ primary care doctors “are always in the loop when we take care of their patients in the hospital, and [the primary care doctors]really appreciate that feedback.”
Hospitalists are always busy. They arrive in the morning, check patients’ data, see each patient, update patients on their conditions, and update patients’ primary care doctors. But they don’t only keep in touch with their patients throughout the day—hospitalists are around for each patient’s entire stay.
“Let’s say I’m going in for a hip replacement,” Amy posits. “When would I see you?”
“You would see me on the day that you get admitted to the hospital,” says Dr. Cho. “We’ll talk to the patients, go through their medical history, make sure that they have everything they need . . . . We see the patients in the hospital, we see them in the post-acute care setting as well, and we know exactly what’s going on with them from start to finish.”
Dr. Cho takes a multidisciplinary approach in deciding if a patient is ready to go home or if the patient needs more care at a rehabilitation facility. Hospitalist coordinate with other healthcare professionals, particularly physical therapists, to make sure patients receive the best possible care. After all, giving patients top quality care is why they do what they do.