The University Hospitalist Fellowship for family medicine physicians is a yearlong fellowship that offers training at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, a tertiary-care facility with 560 beds. Physicians who practice hospital medicine work within hospitals, caring for patients from the time they are admitted to the time they are discharged. Hospitalists provide much of the hospital care once handled by patients’ primary care physicians.
The growth of the specialty has been fueled by several trends, the main one being that the demands on office-based physicians’ time have significantly increased and many have less time to travel to facilities where their patients are hospitalized and make rounds. In addition, research has shown that as medicine becomes more complex, physicians who have constant exposure to acute illness can improve efficiency and consistency of care and lower costs. Research also suggests greater satisfaction among hospitalized patients who are cared for by hospitalists. In addition, the College’s Hospitalist Fellowship is one of only a few nationwide that includes a rural focus. Many of the family medicine physicians who complete this program go on to work in rural areas and as rural hospitalists.