A: The specialty may transform itself into more of a hospital-based care management specialty. In other words, just simply discharging patients and saying “My job is over” doesn’t seem to me to be the future of this particular discipline. I think they are going to be the hospital-based voice for redesigning care processes across the continuum of care. And they may find themselves reaching out, maybe not physically, but electronically and digitally, to patients as they leave the hospital and migrate back into their homes and into their other settings, like skilled nursing facilities and home care and long-term care. They’re having a more involved role in care coordination after the patient is gone, not necessarily on a routine basis, looking and seeing how they’re doing, but designing care processes across that system of care and monitoring their effectiveness.
Q: How does the healthcare system view hospital medicine?
A: Well, certainly among hospital CEOs and leaders, and I’m not just talking about ones that have medical training, I think they see [HM] as a critical asset. Hospitalists are actually in the vanguard of this transformation effect; they’re not the victims of it.
Richard Quinn is a freelance author in New Jersey.