The term “hospitalist” has been added to the list of medical specialties to recognize the expertise of physicians whose practice is devoted to the medical care of hospitalized patients.
Primary care physicians at Dorchester General Hospital (DGH) began using hospitalists to help care for their hospitalized patients over a year ago. Today, the majority of the physicians who practice at DGH contract with hospitalists to relieve the pressure of making rounds when their patients are hospitalized. Two hospitalists, Ahmed Labib, MD and Abul Arifuddowla, MD, MPH, provide care at DGH 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also provide medical consultation for the inpatient behavioral health unit.
Hospitalists manage patients through the various phases of a hospital stay while staying in touch with their patients’ primary care physicians. This can begin in the emergency department prior to admission and continue until discharge. The use of hospitalists is voluntary, which means that family physicians, internal medicine physicians and other medical specialists who prefer to manage their own patients in the hospital can continue to do so.
“Most patients are now familiar with what hospitalists do and appreciate their expertise in coordinating the services of many healthcare professionals during their hospital stay,” says Paul W. Monte, MD, MHA, FACP, medical director of the Eagle Hospitalist Program, which provides hospitalist services at both DGH and The Memorial Hospital at Easton. “The program is working and patient satisfaction is high.”
During a patient’s stay at DGH, Dr. Labib and Dr. Arifuddowla maintain communications links with a patient’s primary care physician, who resumes care for the individual after discharge. As medical specialists, hospitalists are also valuable resources for patients who do not have a relationship with a primary care physician when emergency treatment is required.
“Taking care of today’s hospitalized patient has become more complicated with patients having multiple medical issues. Hospitalists focus on the complexities of inpatient care and understand the inner workings of the various hospital departments and medical specialties that come together to diagnose and treat serious illnesses,” comments Dr. Monte.
Dr. Labib, a graduate of Zagazig University in Egypt, completed a residency in family medicine at South Illinois University School of Medicine. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Arifuddowla, a graduate of Dhaka Medical College in Bangladesh, completed his residency in internal medicine at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Darby, Pennsylvania. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Monte adds, “In addition to their expertise in providing appropriate and timely medical care to hospitalized patients, both of these physicians participate in initiatives that enhance our efforts in the areas of hospital quality and patient safety.”