Among the newest fields in medicine, the specialty “hospitology” applies the precepts of the hospitality industry to the hospital environment.
The hospitology industry celebrated its fifth birthday this year. The term was coined by health consumer advocate Katy Ericson and was actualized by the daughter of a hotel industry mogul, Marseilles Hyatt. Like their colleagues in other new specialties, including forensic proctology and cosmetic gynecology, “hospitologists” have organized and worked hard to define their specialty and are working toward board certification.
Scope of Practice
Hospitologists have expertise in making the “visitors” feel welcome in the hospital environment. (Hospitologists prefer to refer to patients as “visitors,” though they also use the term “customer.”) As the visitor arrives from admissions, the hospitologist is waiting at bedside. The hospitologist assures the visitor that all his needs will be met in his personalized care suite.
Subsequent to the greeting, the hospitologist assists in the selection of an appropriate gown, termed “hospital attire.” There are several modish alternatives from designers such as Yves Saint Levaquin, Pierre Cardiac, and Club Medicare.
Obtaining a history and completing a physical remain a necessary part of the hospitalization experience, and hospitologists know how to establish a peaceful rapport. Previous review of material excludes the need to spend time on such distractions as past medical history or medication list, though many patients wish to discuss these at excruciating length. If this is the case, the hospitologist is ready to sit quietly while the visitor reviews any or all details of medical encounters—tangential or otherwise.
Prior to a physical exam, the patient may opt for a massage or a nap, either of which can be arranged for an extra charge.
Physical exams by hospitologists are soothing and precise, though not strictly required. Studies show that the physical exam is of low sensitivity and specificity. Nonetheless, the use of a stethoscope is encouraged to create the sense of clinical competence that visitors prefer in care providers, though having the gadget draped around one’s neck is, in most cases, sufficient.
Admission orders are a true art form. Administer adequate narcotics, benzodiazepines, and an antidepressant to visitors—whether they truly need them or not. Gently encourage smokers to quit; however, if they choose not to, then a selection of fine brands should be available for purchase and delivery to the care suite. Most modern hospitology programs offer online ordering through the in-care suite entertainment system, which features a selection of cigarettes, alcohol, and other needed substances, for a small additional fee. The concierge may be of help as well.
When it comes to diagnostic testing, there is no provider more adept at meeting a visitor’s needs than a hospitologist. Whether the visitor desires a barium enema or a PET scan, the test will be arranged immediately. Lab work may also be ordered. Though it is often difficult to obtain blood without a phlebotomy and a needle, the hospitologist will at bedside to hold the visitor’s hand, and (if need be) can offer her own blood if the visitor cannot bear the thought of “getting stuck.” There is an extra fee for this service, however.
Hospitologists command the full range of therapeutic maneuvers including heavy water hydrotherapy, splenic massage, and isotope enemas.
At time of discharge the hospitologist will have the visitor ready to go—both medically and spiritually. If he has no ride or it’s just too rainy, discharge on an alternate night is always an option. Visitors are always welcomed back, even if it’s within 30 days and with the same diagnosis.
Length of stay (LOS) is an important metric for any hospitologist. LOS less than eight days may be a measure of poor performance, though we frequently see a four-day, three-night weekend admission for the busy executive.
The 30-day readmission rate is also worth following, as a happy visitor will want to return to the healing environment.
Cost per admission is of no importance; hospitologists live to serve, and finances are just a distraction from our duties. Money is the root of all evil, and hospitologists are well rooted.
Hospitologists rely heavily on EBM—experience-based medicine. Statistics can lie, but a happy smiling patient remains the proof in the hospitologist’s pudding. (Multiple flavors are available; see the menu.)
Organized Medicine and Certification
Like all good practitioners of new specialties, the hospitologists of America are well represented. The original organization was called Hospitology Organization of Haversend, Ohio (HOHO), which merged with the Hospitologist Organization of Rybeck, N.Y., (HORNY), to form the American Clinical Hospitology Organization (ACHOO), Gesundheit.
The current CEO of ACHOO Gesundheit is Moe Larryundcurly. He has represented the organization for several years and has been acknowledged by his peers to be “outstanding,” though at the time, they were all “in” and “sitting.”
The move for Bored Certification is in the air for ACHOO Gesundheit. Every hospitology program wants to have certified hospitologists. The ABIM (American Bored of Internal Medicine) and the ACP (Association of Credentialed Persons) have generally been supportive of Bored Certification, despite distraction from rival groups, such as the Socialist Generic Inpatient Medicos and other nefarious organizations.
Criteria for Bored Certification includes the following: Being bored at committee meetings, providing room and board for me when I visit, and the ability to tolerate being bored stiff, to death, and to tears.
The future is bright for hospitologists. Changes in Medicare billing, support from the hotel industry, and association with other “ologists,” such as cosmetologists and herpetologists, will only make the group stronger. Major threats to the specialty include tort law, outcomes analysis, and my brother Seymour, the crooked shyster lawyer.
Next time you go to the hospital to be “healed,” ask for a hospitologist! TH
*Hospitologist in practice
Conflict of interest statement: Dr. Newman does not own 25% of common shares of Hospitologists Incorporated (HI), although his wife does.
Jamie Newman, MD, FACP, is the physician editor of The Hospitalist, consultant, Hospital Internal Medicine, and assistant professor of internal medicine and medical history, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn.