Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Appreciating hospitalists for (gasp!) their clinical skills

Since its origins the hospitalist movement has been redefined. According to our founding documents a hospitalist was a generalist physician, usually an internist, who brought exceptional clinical skills to the care of hospitalized patients. Emphasis on the word clinical. Things devolved considerably since then. Clinical expertise gradually took a back seat to clerical skills, coding and performance measures. Today our thought leaders, or many of them, seem to devalue clinical expertise.

I'm not generally impressed by promotional items about hospitalists, but a recent post by Dr. John M got my attention because it focused on hospitalists as excellent clinicians:

But for good patient care, the details are important too. Hospitalists are good at details. In fact, an internists’ area of expertise is in using, considering and synthesizing such specifics. They mesh together a patient’s history, exam, laboratory values, X-rays, and other specialists’ opinions. I feel strongly that having thinkers on the case is a good thing.

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