The Best Inpatient Care

A physician explains how patients benefit from hospitalists.

If you’re admitted to the hospital, chances are you’ll be cared for by a physician called a hospitalist rather than your primary care physician (PCP). Irfana Khan, MD, Director of Hospitalist Services at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus, explains how patients benefit.

What is a hospitalist?

Hospitalists care for hospitalized patients, or inpatients. They lead the medical team and coordinate care for inpatients. They orchestrate communication between a patient’s physicians and serve as the point of contact for other physicians and nurses involved in a patient’s care. They also act as the contact for family members for any updates on a loved one. Hospitalists examine patients when they’re admitted, order lab work and diagnostic tests, and treat patients.

How do patients benefit from a hospitalist?

Hospitalists have expertise in the management of common inpatient conditions, which may improve patient outcomes. Also, since hospitalists work at the hospital, they are readily available to order tests, track the results and order any follow-up tests promptly. A PCP typically visits patients in the hospital once a day and returns the next day to follow up on test results. Hospitalists are available to explain test results to patients and family members and respond to any medical crises. They may also make a patient’s stay more efficient. In many instances, a hospitalist sees a patient more than once a day to ensure that his or her care is going according to plan.

What are the credentials and training of a hospitalist?

After graduating from medical school, a hospitalist must complete a residency—typically in internal medicine or family practice. He or she may be an MD (Medical Doctor) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).

How do hospitalists work with a patient’s PCP?

We notify a patient’s PCP at certain key points: when he or she is seen in the Emergency Department and at admission and discharge. In addition, if a discharged patient needs a follow-up test, one of our discharge coordinators will notify the physician or nurse practitioner.

When does a PCP take over a hospitalized patient’s care?

PCPs resume patients’ care after discharge. We recommend that all patients see their physician within three to five days of leaving the hospital.

For more information about hospitalists at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus, call 973.349.6498