The increasing complexity of healthcare is accelerating the rate of specialisation in medicine, which in turn aggravates the fragmentation of care in hospitals. The hospitalist movement advocates for the return of generalist physicians to the hospital to provide general and more holistic medical care to inpatients. This can be seen as an adaptive response to care fragmentation. Starting in the mid-1990s in North America, where the impact of healthcare complexity and fragmentation has been most widely felt, the hospital movement has gained strength and spread across the continent rapidly. This paper examines the phenomenon of the hospitalist movement in the United States, Canada and Singapore. The conclusion is that variants of the hospital movement may emerge in different parts of the world as healthcare systems adapt to common global trends that drive the increasing complexity of healthcare.
Healthcare systems are complex adaptive systems. They are capable of self organisation through interacting agents that adapt to changes to the internal and external environment.
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