Published in the November 2013 issue of Today’s Hospitalist
Ten years ago, I was talking to one of the physician editors at the Annals of Internal Medicine about a new group of doctors called “hospitalists.” Unbeknownst to him, I was thinking about starting a publication for this hot new specialty, and I was curious to see what a veteran internist thought about them.
His conclusion? Hospitalists were just a fad that would probably fade into obscurity “much like the idea of physician gatekeepers, which was popular under managed care, had fizzled in the 1990s.
Back then, the rise and fall of managed care saw lots of ideas that were supposed to improve patient care come and go. And at that time, many viewed hospital medicine as one more cost-saving tactic being used by HMOs. It wasn’t such a radical notion that hospitalists would suffer the same fate.
Fast forward to today, and hospital medicine is not only alive and well, but doing better than anyone then could expect. The number of hospitalists has exploded, and the specialty has made itself indispensable in many of the nation’s hospitals. And with implementation of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals are going to need hospitalists more than ever.
I’d like to say that I knew all of this when I was talking to that internist 10 years ago. But the reality is that few could have foreseen just how powerful this specialty would become in such a short amount of time. I felt certain that the young group of physicians I had started talking to about this new field was destined for great things, but I’ve been surprised “and impressed “by how much has been accomplished.
To celebrate all of those accomplishments “and the 10th anniversary of Today’s Hospitalist “we’ve put together a special package of stories. It’s going to be a long time before anyone else predicts that hospital medicine is going to fade away.
Editor & Publisher