They do not replace surgeons, pediatricians, obstetricians, neurologists, pulmonologists, allergists, or other such specialties. What they do is take care of the general needs of the patients admitted to the hospital. If a patient has a heart attack in the middle of the night, the doctor will be right there, as opposed to treating the patient over the phone. I like the change.
I think hospitalists will be similar to ER doctors, where some will be good and others will not be good. Some will respect RTs and others will not. The advantage to the patient is obvious, as they will be available to care for any of their immediate needs.
According to studies, there are other advantages:
- Decrease in the need to transfer patients
- Increased use of acute care skills (because keeping more patients)
- Increase use of BiPAP and Ventilators
- Increased inpatients
The problem is they cost a lot of money.