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Clin Med (Lond). 2002 Jul-Aug;2(4):327-30.

The evolution of the hospitalist movement in the USA.

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University of California, San Francisco, USA.


The hospitalist movement represents a novel paradigm of health care delivery in the USA, its evolution hastened by a variety of financial, clinical, and time pressures. Hospitalists are site-defined specialists who spend the majority of their professional time practising in the hospital, and in this respect are similar to emergency medicine or critical care specialists. Community hospitals were the sites of early growth in hospitalist systems, and academic medical centres quickly followed suit. The field has grown rapidly, and now has its own textbook, professional society, training programme, and research and educational agenda. Published research to date has upheld the promise of the hospitalist model: improving efficiency of care by reducing length of stay and hospital costs without compromising quality or patient satisfaction. Future hospitalist research will aim to elucidate the role of hospitalists in the care of critically ill and surgical patients, identify the competencies that will ultimately define this specialty, and expand our understanding of key inpatient issues, such as prevention of nosocomial infections, end-of-life care, and hospital quality measurement.

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