A patient's primary physician is responsible for coordinating the patient's care during inpatient hospitalization. Nevertheless, there will be times when that physician may not be immediately available to evaluate a patient during an emergency situation in the hospital. Such situations may include new chest pain or clinical deterioration requiring transfer of a patient to the intensive care unit. To ensure high-quality care in this setting, a House Physician cares for patients in coordination with their primary physician until the primary physician is available. (The term "House" refers to a hospital inpatient setting and not to the patient's home.)
The House Physician Service is staffed by full-time faculty members of the Division of General Internal Medicine, supplemented by additional part-time physicians, and is available around the clock. The service does not substitute for the primary physician's care but instead supplements it in emergency situations when the primary physician may not be immediately available.