Why Hospital Medicine as a Specialty, and Hospitalists in General, are Important
Hospital medicine emerged as a de facto specialty in the 1990s, when a significant shift occurred to hospitalist-based care from on-call primary care physicians who managed their inpatients. A nationwide shortage of hospital physicians has not substantially altered that model. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 86 percent of 400 hospital CEOs queried were actively recruiting physicians. And 94 percent of those same CEOs reported that recruiting physicians to become hospitalists was difficult and/or challenging.
One way to combat the shortage of qualified hospital physicians is for the medical community to embrace physician board certification through the American Board of Hospital Medicine (ABHM), a member board of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). Another is for the medical community – including medical students and qualified primary care physicians – to embrace hospital medicine as an important and viable specialty whose practitioners contribute a great deal to the quality of care patients receive in the nation’s hospitals.
The demonstrable benefits of maintaining a hospitalist program include:
- Shorter duration of inpatient stays
- Reduced patient costs and hospital expenditures
- Improved overall care
- Patient access to a physician 24 hours a day
- Rapid coordination of inpatient care and reaction to changes in a patient’s medical status
- More timely, on-site evaluation of tests and rapid adjustments to treatment
- Better lines of communication for patient and family members
- Better lines of communication between the hospital and the primary care physician
Achieving physician board certification through the ABHM demonstrates that a hospitalist has mastered the core competencies required to provide the best possible care to inpatients. The ABHM is the only board of its kind that is constituted and governed by hospitalists, not sub-specialists. To learn more, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.