General surgical departments at academic medical centers are confronted by obstacles to the three traditional academic missions of education, scientific research, and the provision of high-quality care. The growing popularity of specialization has added to the problem by fragmenting the practice of general surgery. Emergency surgical care is time-intensive and associated with prolonged lengths of stay, often requiring specialized procedures to be performed in the middle of the night or on weekends.
In 2005, we reorganized our acute general surgical service at UCSF Medical Center into a hospitalist model to address these challenges.Our mission is to provide high quality and timely care to all patients being evaluated with emergency surgical conditions. UCSF is the first academic teaching hospital in the nation to employ this new model. The surgical hospitalist model is an innovative new strategy for addressing the crisis in access to emergency surgical care in the U.S.