J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Mar 25. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-06675-y. Online ahead of print.
A virtual hospitalist program expanded our ability to confront the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis at the epicenter of the pandemic in New York City. In concert with on-site hospitalists and redeployed physicians, virtual hospitalists aimed to expand capacity while maintaining high-quality care and communication. The program addressed multiple challenges created by our first COVID-19 surge: high patient census and acuity; limitations of and due to personal protective equipment; increased communication needs due to visitor restrictions and the uncertain nature of the novel disease, and limitations to in-person work for some physicians. The program created a mechanism to train and support new hospitalists and provide and expand palliative care services. We describe how our virtual hospitalist program operated during our COVID-19 surge in April and May 2020 and reflect on potential roles of virtual hospitalists after the COVID-19 crisis passes.