About Us: What Is a Hospitalist?



What is a hospitalist?

What benefits can hospitalists offer patients?

How do UC San Diego hospitalists make a difference?

For more information

UCSD hospitalits on teaching rounds
UCSD Internal Medicine junior resident Waheed Murad, MD, and Health Sciences Clinical Professor Daniel Bouland, MD

What is a hospitalist?

The Society of Hospital Medicine has adopted the following official definition of "hospitalist."

Hospitalists are physicians whose primary professional focus is the general medical care of hospitalized patients. Their activities include patient care, teaching, research, and leadership related to Hospital Medicine.

The term "hospitalist" refers to physicians whose practice emphasizes providing care for hospitalized patients. The term was first used in a New England Journal of Medicine article in August of 1996.  While some doctors have emphasized inpatient care for many years, there has been an explosive growth in the number of such doctors since 1994.

Wachter RM, Goldman L. The emerging role of "hospitalists"

in the American health care system. N Engl J Med 1996;335:514-7.


What benefits can hospitalists offer patients?

By focusing his or her practice on the care of hospitalized patient, a hospitalist can gain a great deal of experience in the unique aspects of a patient's needs during the hospital stay.

Hospitalists typically spend most or all of their work day in the hospital, and thus can be more readily available to a patient than a doctor who spends much the day outside the hospital in an office or clinic setting.


UC San Diego hospitalists
From left: Health Sciences Clinical Professor Gregory Seymann, MD, and Internal Medicine senior resident Suresh Rangarajan, MD.


How do UC San Diego hospitalists make a difference?

First and foremost, the UC San Diego hospitalists provide high-quality, compassionate patient care in the UC San Diego medical centers.

The hospitalists play a significant role in training and mentoring residents in the UC San Diego Internal Medicine Residency Program. Hospitalists use evidence-based learning techniques and have developed an online curriculum for the residents.


UC San Diego hospitalists at work
Internal Medicine senior resident Courtney Tibble, MD

A primary focus for the Division of Hospital Medicine is to improve the quality of care and the care delivery processes, through systems change. Our hospitalists are actively involved in multiple process improvement teams at the UC San Diego medical centers, oftentimes serving in leadership roles.

Examples of hospitalist-led quality improvement programs include the following.

  • Improving glycemic control and reducing hypoglycemia
  • Optimizing prevention of hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism
  • Improving care of community-acquired pneumonia
  • Implementing a system to reconcile medications across the spectrum of care
  • Standardizing the discharge process and communication processes
  • Implementing an effective perioperative beta-blockade protocol
Dr. Daniel Bouland, Health Sciences Associate Professor in Hospital Medicine, on teaching rounds.
Internal Medicine resident Waheed Murad, MD, and (facing the camera) Health Sciences Clinical Professor Daniel Bouland, MD

See our Quality Improvement Projects and Quality Improvement News pages for more information about our current quality improvement programs.

For more information

Inquiries regarding the educational efforts of the division, future plans for a fellowship program in Hospital Medicine, or career opportunities may be directed to hmp@ucsd.edu or by calling our administrative offices at (619) 471-9186.

More information on current career opportunities is available on the Current Openings page.

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