Hospitalist medicine is the fastest growing medical specialty in history.
Will they having staying power? This piece (via Dr. RW) describes how doctors in the 60′s and 70′s didn’t want to practice in the emergency department, leading to the birth of emergency medicine specialists.
The same is happening now, as primary care doctors are loathe to practice in the hospital. This is even spreading to general surgeons, many of whom are practicing in ambulatory surgery centers and see the hospital as being deluged with “lots of night and weekend work, difficult emergency cases with lots of social and medical co-morbidities, and a poor payer mix.”
So as the “traditionalists,” doctors who practice in both hospital and outpatient settings, become extinct, it’s safe to say that hospitalists and their brethren will be here to stay.