Narrator: This is Science Today. Doctors who focus specifically on managing the care of hospitalized patients are called 'hospitalists'. Dr. Steve Pantilat, who directs the palliative care service at the University of California, San Francisco, is a hospitalist himself.
Pantilat: A hospitalist is an internist - internal medicine doctor, a sub-specialist in internal medicine, a pediatrician or family practice physician - who assumes the care of a hospitalized patient instead of that patient's primary care physician.
Narrator: A study co-led by Pantilat found that hospitalists have a positive impact on end-of-life care, despite concerns they don't know the dying patients as well as their primary care provider might. But Pantilat says the hospitalist bring many advantages to the care of hospitalized patients.
Pantilat: They bring expertise from doing this a lot, they are more available to the patients and families to talk about specific issues, to act on results of tests that happen and they can help to make the hospital system run better.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.