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B. The Hosptialist - A New Medical Specialty

Narrator: This is Science Today. In an effort to improve care and decrease costs, many health care systems are adopting what's called a hospitalist model. Jonathan Showstack, a professor of medicine and health policy at the University of California, San Francisco, says this model provides hospital patients with a hospital-based general physician.

Showstack: A major concern among both physicians and patients regarding the hospitalist model is the transfer of care once the patient enters the hospital. The concern is that there will be a discontinuity.

Narrator: On the other hand, Showstack says a hospitalist would be more familiar with the complex hospital system better than most outpatient doctors.

Showstack: So there's a trade-off. The early evidence is that the hospitalist model does produce some savings in length of stay and fewer use of resources and apparently at equal or possibly better outcomes of care.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.