To the Editor:
The hospitalist movement (see “What the Hospitalist Movement Means to Family Physicians,” November/December 1998) is the most significant benefit to primary care physicians and their patients in this century.
Primary care physicians have been indoctrinated to be “complete physicians” for their patients. While this is a lofty goal, most young doctors soon become weary of the demands on their time and energy that trying to fulfill this difficult role entails. Perhaps at the beginning of their careers it is possible to “do it all,” but once their patient loads increase and the incessant demands of daily practice take their toll, family doctors limit their hours just like any other specialists.
Trying to keep up with the burden of hospital medicine, running an office practice and making home visits doesn't make sense. Primary care doctors are basically outpatient physicians. That is where their expertise lies, and it is where they should concentrate their energy.
The idea of hospitalists is one that is long overdue.