Ask any medical professional and they will tell you how vital it is to have a primary care physician you and your kids see on a regular basis.

Primary care doctors help keep you healthy long-term and can address any medical issues that come up before they have a chance to become serious problems.

But there are also times people need hospital care, and their care is often managed by another type of primary care physician – a hospitalist.

Hospitalists are doctors that specialize in caring for hospital inpatients. They work exclusively in the hospital, coordinate care, improve patient safety and can help a patient with the transition from the hospital back to their home. They also partner with the patient’s primary care doctor to make sure they’re up to speed on your situation and can follow up after a patient leaves the hospital.

They’re usually trained in internal medicine or pediatrics, though some hospitalists include additional specialties such as oncology, obstetrics and gynecology or gastroenterology. Edward-Elmhurst Medical Group has both adult and pediatric hospitalists.

In general, the main difference between hospitalists and primary care physicians is the place they work.

Historically, hospitalized patients were treated by their primary care physicians, who were also seeing patients in their offices and tending to other clinical tasks that limited the amount of time they could spend with their hospitalized patient.

Having physicians dedicated to working in the hospital caring for inpatients filled a needed specialty that also increased the quality of care and attention each patient received.

Hospitalists have unique knowledge of hospital medicine and specific experience caring for a hospitalized patient’s complex medical needs, 24/7. They not only collaborate with an inpatient’s care team and answer questions from the patient and their family members, but they also communicate with the patient’s primary care doctor and follow up with them once the patient leaves the hospital.

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