In 1942, Harry Bakwin deduced that hospitalism was caused not by the institutions themselves, but by "emotional deprivation". That is, people--especially children--need things like touch and human contact. Back then, these things were frowned upon by many as unnecessary, overly sentimental, and possibly unsterile. The results of this were such that when Henry Chapin, studying infant mortality rates in 1915, discovered that in nine out of the ten orphanages he asked for statistics, every child died before the age of two.

I tried searching for more information, but apparently the majority of the stuff's in Japanese, and I can't glean much from their discussion of hosupitarizumu.

Hospitalism is also an ism that refers to doctors who treat hospitalized patients exclusively (and not, say, outpatients).

Hospitalism is a new-ish idea that some hospitals are switching to to keep their costs down.

Lets discuss the regular method of First-World countries. If you feel sick, you go to your doctor. If he thinks you should stay in a hospital, he'll get you admitted. That same doctor or partner, or one in his or her group will be your attending physician. He or she is responsible for you, and is pretty much in charge of your medical case, he knows your history, and made the diagnosis. Of course, they can call a consultant specialist for you, and you see hospital staff like nurses more often. When you recover, you'll be discharged, and see your doctor for follow-up visits and check-ups.

Since the cost of healthcare is rising (when isn't it?), some hospitals are taking a different approach. Some hospitals are hiring doctors for their staff, known as "Hospitalists". They don't have a private practice or office outside the hospital, so they are hospital employees. The hospital saves money as they now have salaried doctors to take over care, and not have to put up with doctors outside the hospital, or deal with one more medical bill.

There are a number of problems with this. First, the nice Family Doctor who's been treating you since you were six won't be able to treat you, as a staff doctor will take over. This puts a dent in the role of Primary Care. Plus, this new guy doesn't know anything about you except from a chart. He's not going to know many things, like how sensitive you are to medication reactions.

Next, it's taking away the other doctors' business, as well as from the hospital. Hospitalism will force the doctors to take a pay cut, as they earn nothing from admitting patients now. In suburbs, where there are several hospitals close by, the family doctor will reccomend a different one.

Lastly, doctors in town feel threatened by this. Not only were they thrown out of their hospital, where they worked for decades, but the hospital starts to move in on their practice. In a large hospital, you will have many hospitalists idling, so the hospital would open a clinic to keep them busy. Many doctors would become very incensed at this, as it steals patients away.

In a nutshell, the hospitalists steal away all the patients one by one, offering less quality care for the lower price.

Hos"pi*tal*ism (?), n. Med.

A vitiated condition of the body, due to long confinement in a hospital, or the morbid condition of the atmosphere of a hospital.


© Webster 1913.

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