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more articles by Stallone, Martin , MD  |  author's bio

Hospital Physicians Offer Continuity of Care

Hospital Physicians Offer Continuity of Care

Special to the Journal By Martin Stallone, MD


Patient care has changed in this country to reflect the different demands of outpatient care and inpatient care.  Although there are some primary care physicians who continue to treat patients when they are hospitalized, the majority focus on outpatient care.  Physicians who see patients only in their offices rely on “hospitalists,” which are doctors who specialize in caring for patients while they are in the hospital.


What do hospitalists do?


Patients admitted to the hospital these days have special needs: hospitalist medicine deals with this specific portion of the continuum of patient care. We diagnose and treat medical problems that require round-the-clock care in a hospital setting. By doing this, we enable primary care physicians to concentrate on the patients in their offices. Primary care doctors no longer have to leave a waiting room full of sick people, to drive to the hospital and admit someone who is seriously ill.


How do hospital patients benefit from this care system?


Hospitalists are in the medical center 24 hours a day.  This means that if you have a medical emergency at any time during your hospitalization, the hospitalist can be at your bedside within minutes. Similarly, if you or a family member has a question about your condition, we can be paged right away.


Hospitalists treat only acute illnesses every day, which means our hospital medicine skills are fine-tuned. We are well practiced in avoiding complications, getting tests done efficiently, monitoring a patient’s treatment and progress, and coordinating the entire team of nurses, consulting physicians, therapists and pharmacists to provide the best possible care.


Because hospitalists are working in the hospital every day, we are able to establish and maintain good working relationships with other health-care providers on our team. Nurses and colleagues can knock on our door or call us for immediate answers. Having the hospitalist readily available enhances relationships that are necessary for the delivery of good patient care. 


The hospitalists at Cayuga Medical Center also admit and treat patients who do not have an established primary care doctor. This is a great service to patients and their families. At the time of discharge, we refer these patients to a local primary care doctor for follow-up care, which is important in maintaining good health.


How will the hospitalist know about me?


The hospitalists will spend extra time learning about you. At the time of admission to the hospital, we will speak with you and communicate with your primary care doctor to get as much information about your medical history as possible. We will also review any medical records from previous hospital admissions and speak with your family. We use all of this information to provide the best possible medical care.


Will I see my primary care physician?


Although the hospitalist is responsible for your treatment in the hospital, we always welcome visits and information from your primary care doctor. We know they have a valuable perspective on your medical history. At the time of your discharge we update your primary care doctor on your care in the hospital, provide you with prescriptions if needed, and send a report on your hospitalization to your doctor.


The hospitalists at Cayuga Medical Center are part of Cayuga Medical Associates. We are members of the community and we feel fortunate to be working with an engaged and concerned patient population. We are here to provide the highest level of patient care with the best possible outcomes.


Dr. Stallone is board certified in Internal Medicine and is the director of the Hospitalist Program at Cayuga Medical Center.


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