Hospitalist at Work
July 22, 2019 | by Joseph Bennet MD

Today, most large hospitals in the U.S. have dedicated physicians called hospitalists whose sole responsibility is to care for patients while they are in the hospital. Years ago, primary care physicians (PCPs) managed care for their own patients in the hospital. They typically visited them on morning rounds before going into their clinic office. This practice gradually shifted as daily travel between two locations became more difficult to manage and care for hospital patients grew more complex.

The Polyclinic’s Hospitalist Program

The Polyclinic started its own hospitalist program at Swedish Medical Center in 2005. All our hospitalists are board certified internal medicine physicians. They have strong relationships with our primary care providers, including established lines of communication and mutual trust. Our physicians have an average of 14 years of experience as hospitalists—significantly higher than the national average—which contributes to better patient outcomes.

What Does a Hospitalist Do?

Polyclinic hospitalists serve as attending physicians for all patients who have a Polyclinic primary care provider and are admitted to Swedish Medical Center First Hill. Their responsibilities include:

  • Admitting all Polyclinic patients, and rounding daily with them.
  • Overseeing and coordinating all patient care in the hospital, including diagnostic work-ups, treatment plans, and discharge planning.
  • Communicating with all providers (PCPs, consultants, nurses, therapists, care coordinators, etc.) via our Epic medical record, by phone, or in person.
  • Communicating with patients and families during a patient’s hospitalization.
  • Consulting with surgeons and subspecialists who may need the hospitalists to manage a patient’s medical issues before and after surgery.

Polyclinic hospitalists typically work a week at a time, and often provide care during a patient’s entire hospital stay. This offers continuity so patients don’t have to see a new hospitalist each day.

Part of The Polyclinic Care Team

Our hospitalists are part of a patient’s Polyclinic care team. They get to know patients and provide care at a critical point in their lives. They understand that for most patients and families, a hospital stay is often a rare and challenging experience.

“We get to know people very well and often at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives,” said Polyclinic hospitalist Dr. Joseph Bennet. “It is an honor and privilege to be given that trust. It’s extremely gratifying to help patients and families secure a diagnosis, formulate a treatment plan, and begin their recovery from a serious illness or injury.”

For more information on our hospitalist program, visit: polyclinic.com/hospital-medicine.

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Written By: Joseph Bennet MD