What is an Intensivist?
Intensivists are board-certified physicians in internal medicine, pulmonology, and critical care, and lead a team of specialists in the CCC's Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
At OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, ICU patients with critical or severe illness or injury receive extensive, round-the-clock care and monitoring. The care of each patient in the ICU is carefully and closely managed by a team of pharmacists, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurses, respiratory therapists, and intensivists.
The term intensivist is not new in health care. There are close to 8,100 intensivists in active practice in the United States, who provide one-third of all ICU care. However, with so few intensivists in the United States it's no wonder most hospitals are without these specialists on their ICU team.
During rounds, the team provides a daily plan of care for the patient with a focus on the patients' needs. The intensivist on duty is responsible for implementing the plan, as well as monitoring and managing each individual patient's progress. Intensivists are also involved in all aspects of the patient's post-ICU course, including follow-up visits.
Mortality rates are significantly lower in hospitals with ICUs managed exclusively by board certified intensivists - more specifically 30 percent lower hospital mortality and 40 percent lower ICU mortality.
Furthermore, the average length of stay in an ICU is 6.1 days for patients cared for by an intensivist, compared with 9.3 days for patients cared for by an attending physician, and overall complication rates in ICUs staffed with intensivists are 44 percent versus 56 percent in traditionally staffed units.
At OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, your health is our first priority. That's why we're pleased to offer a hospitalist service, promoting a higher level of quality and care throughout your stay. While at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, you'll have the comfort of knowing expert physicians are just a few steps away to answer your questions, respond to your needs, and guide your care.
Working closely with you, your family, your primary care doctor, and specialists in the medical center, our highly trained experts deliver safe, efficient, highly coordinated care from admission through discharge.
Who is a Hospitalist?
A hospitalist is an acute-care physician who specializes and focuses on the general medical care of hospitalized patients. With advanced training and extensive experience, they are uniquely qualified to care for acute illnesses and complex medical issues.
Hospitalists are also available to care for patients who do not have a primary care physician, are from other communities, or who have a local physician who has chosen to use the hospitalist service.
What is the Role of a Hospitalist?
Because hospitalists focus exclusively on hospital-based medicine, they are able to devote a great deal of time and attention to each patient. While you are at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, a hospitalist will guide and coordinate all aspects of your care.
That includes ordering tests, prescribing medications, monitoring results, discussing medical issues, providing medical treatments and appropriate counseling, and arranging for follow-up services. Through every step of the process, the hospitalist will communicate with your primary care physician.
Will I See My Primary Care Physician?
When the decision is made to admit you to OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, your primary care physician may request a hospitalist to care for you.
The hospitalists stay in close contact with your primary care physician upon admission, during your stay, and when you are discharged.
The transition from your primary care physician to the hospitalist and back again, will be seamless and nearly unnoticeable.
What Happens after I am Discharged?
When you are discharged from OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, your primary care physician will resume the management of your medical care. To make this transition as smooth as possible, your primary physician will have direct access to all medical records from your hospitalization.
To continue your care with as little interruption as possible, the hospitalist will recommend a specific time when you should begin follow-up care with your primary care physician. It is essential you call your physician's office to arrange your post-hospitalization appointment.
What are the Benefits of Receiving In-House Care from a Hospitalist?
- Around-the-clock Availability
Because hospitalists are in the hospital and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you'll have timely and frequent physician monitoring. If concerns or emergencies arise, your hospitalist can easily modify your treatment or coordinate testing.
- Improved Safety
Research shows an increase in patient safety when hospitalist services are used due to the direct and ongoing communication between hospitalists, other specialists, and nurses.
- Highly Coordinated Care
Hospitalists work with your personal doctor, nurses, surgeons and other specialists to manage multiple medical issues and ensure continuity of care.
- Streamlined Services
Hospitalists have the ability to expedite and enhance care within the hospital setting. They can quickly access key specialists, such as surgeons, cardiologists, oncologists, and pharmacists. Tests can be ordered and assessed without much delay.
- Smoother Discharge
To ease your transition back to daily life, your hospitalist team will help coordinate post-discharge care.