Hospital medicine

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Hospital Medicine is a specialized field of medicine primarily focused on the comprehensive care of acutely ill patients during their hospital stay. Physicians who specialize in this discipline, known as hospitalists, are dedicated to managing the unique medical needs of patients within a hospital setting. Hospital medicine has evolved as a distinct branch within the medical field, and while it originated in the United States, it has gained recognition and prominence in other countries, including Australia and Canada.

Role of Hospitalists

Hospitalists are medical professionals whose primary commitment is to provide high-quality care to hospitalized patients. They play a crucial role in ensuring the continuity of care and coordination of medical services within a hospital. Key responsibilities of hospitalists include:

  • Inpatient Care: Hospitalists manage and oversee the medical treatment of patients admitted to the hospital. They diagnose, treat, and monitor acute illnesses and conditions, collaborating with other healthcare specialists as needed.
  • Treatment Planning: Hospitalists develop individualized treatment plans, order diagnostic tests, interpret results, and make necessary adjustments to ensure the best possible patient outcomes.
  • Communication: They serve as a bridge between patients, their families, and other healthcare providers, facilitating communication and ensuring that everyone is informed about the patient's progress and care plan.
  • Coordination: Hospitalists coordinate the various aspects of inpatient care, including consultations with specialists, surgical procedures, and discharge planning.

Evolution of Hospital Medicine

Hospital medicine emerged in the United States in the late 20th century as a response to the changing landscape of healthcare delivery. Several factors contributed to its development:

  • Managed Care: The shift towards managed care organizations placed a greater emphasis on cost-effective and efficient care delivery, driving the need for specialized inpatient care.
  • Increased Hospitalization Complexity: Advances in medical technology and treatments led to more complex hospitalizations, requiring dedicated healthcare providers.
  • Primary Care Shortages: A shortage of primary care physicians available to care for hospitalized patients created a gap that hospitalists filled.
  • Quality and Patient Safety: Hospitalists focused on improving the quality of inpatient care and patient safety within hospitals.

Training and Certification

Hospitalists typically have a background in family medicine, internal medicine, or related specialties. While they are not necessarily required to hold separate board certification in hospital medicine, many choose to pursue additional training and certification through organizations such as the American Board of Hospital Medicine.

Global Expansion

The concept of hospital medicine has extended beyond the United States and is gaining recognition in other countries. Australia and Canada, in particular, have seen the growth of hospital medicine practices, aligning with the evolving needs of healthcare systems.


Hospital Medicine, as practiced by dedicated hospitalists, plays a pivotal role in delivering specialized care to acutely ill patients within the hospital setting. Its focus on inpatient care coordination, patient communication, and medical expertise contributes significantly to the overall quality of healthcare delivery.


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