AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. December 2008, Volume 10, Number 12.

Ethics Poll

Hospitalists Find Room in the House of Medicine

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

A "hospitalist" is a physician whose primary focus is overseeing general care of hospitalized patients. More than 50 percent of patients in some regions of the country are now cared for by hospitalists rather than by their outpatient primary care physicians during hospitalization. Did you know about this movement in hospital-based medical practice?
Advocates say that hospitalists improve patient safety and efficiency because they have a focused practice area, are familiar with hospital systems, and understand the needs of all patients on the unit at any given time. Critics say that hospitalists do not have long-term relationships with vulnerable, hospitalized patients and that, because they must prioritize the needs of all patients at any given time, they do not advocate for individual patients the way primary care physicians do. In light of these comments, do you think that, on balance, this trend toward use of hospitalists is
Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of our readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.