Hospitalists, first do no harm. Pay attention to each patient's needs

My husband was recently hospitalized for 3 days at Jefferson.  He is fine now and back to normal.

When you are hospitalized, your care is taken over by a “hospitalist.”  These are doctors who only take care of patients in the hospital.  Our past experience with hospitalists has not been optimum.   Often, they do not take time to learn the patient’s past history, repeat studies that have already been done elsewhere, and fail to communicate with the primary care physician who has been following the patient.  They usually see the patient one time a day and there can be a lag time between when a study is ordered, is done, and then acted upon.

This time it was completely different.  Our hospitalist was an incredibly smart, compassionate caring physician.  She immediately called our primary care physician, spoke to him about my husband, and kept him informed throughout the hospitalization.  She also visited us several times a day in the hospital and greatly facilitated the workup.  She was able to get complex imaging studies done on the weekend and immediately spoke to the radiologist and was able to see the results as soon as the procedure was completed.

She also spoke to our family, involved us in decision making and was the epitome of what a hospitalist should be.  She made sure that we had a follow up appointment with our primary care physician within a few days post discharge and even contacted us when we got home to make sure that my husband was OK.

Because of her exquisite attention to my husband’s care and follow up, she was able to decrease the length of his hospitalization by several days.

The care that my husband received should serve as a template for all hospital care. Everybody should receive the same level of service.  This can be accomplished through continuing medical education programs that the hospital can provide for its hospitalists with emphasis on addressing patients’ concerns.  Service excellence should be stressed.  There is also an American Society of Hospitalist Medicine with its own peer reviewed journal.

While knowledge of the latest antibiotics and therapeutic modalities is extremely important, patient communication should also be emphasized. It will certainly improve the quality of our health care delivery, improve patient satisfaction,  while decreasing the cost.