General Internal Medicine Conditions, Diagnostics & Treatments
The fundamental commitment of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Cedars-Sinai is the provision of high quality patient care. An important part of providing care is education of patients about the prevention of diseases, the diseases themselves and their treatment. We provide access to the following resources with the goal of empowering patients to improve their own knowledge about their medical care so that they can become active participants in that care.
What Is General Internal Medicine?
According to the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, which is the principal professional society of practitioners of internal medicine in the USA, "Doctors of internal medicine, often called 'internists' or 'general internists,' focus on adult medicine. They care for their patients for life-from the teen years through old age. Internists have had study and training that focuses on the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. At least three of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training are dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults.
Specialty Programs & Services
The Division of General Internal Medicine offers a number of specialty programs designed to support its responsibility to provide high quality patient care, to engage in medical education and to conduct innovative research.
Located on the second floor of the Steven Spielberg Building, the General Internal Medicine Clinic provides a range of outpatient services to the adult population. This care ranges from screening and preventive health measures to management of diabetes and heart failure.
Attending physicians and medical residents see patients in a primary care setting, using the resources of the Medical Center, including imaging, pharmacy and laboratory services. Through referrals to specialty clinics, the range of outpatient clinical services are made available to patients who see a primary care physician in the Medicine Clinic.
The Procedure Center, located in Suite 5725 in the South Tower, provides both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in addition to placement of PICCs (peripherally inserted central catheter) to inpatients and outpatients. Care is provided for patients from infant through geriatrics. All pediatric outpatients are to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Procedure Center physicians, who are procedural trained, provide consultations, evaluations, diagnostic and therapeutic treatments Monday through Friday during hours of operation. Elective procedures have moderate sedation available.
What Is Critical Care?
According to the Society of Critical Care Medicine, critical care is the medical and nursing care provided to patients facing life-threatening illness or injury. An estimated 80 percent of all Americans will experience critical care as the patient or family or friend of a patient during their lifetime.
Critical Care at Cedars-Sinai
Critical care is provided to patients by an integrated team of board-certified specialists, residents, nurses, respiratory therapists and others. Settings for this care include the Medical ICU and the Respiratory ICU. In addition, depending on fluctuating need, other areas provide transitional care for those patients who no longer require critical care in the ICU but who have not yet sufficiently recovered to allow routine, inpatient care.
The Procedure Center infusion section is integrated into the Procedure Center located in Suite 5725 in the South Tower. The center provides therapeutic infusions to outpatients.
Infusions are inclusive of blood products, medications and/or IV fluids. Care is provided as described for the Procedure Center except for moderate sedation and chemotherapy agents for cancer treatment.
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.
A multidisciplinary team of attending physicians, medical residents, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and others provide a range of inpatient services for those patients whose acute illnesses require hospitalization.
Attending physicians and residents assist in the care of patients hospitalized by other services, providing advice and opinions related to diseases in the discipline of internal medicine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Full-time faculty members of the Division perform administrative tasks, undertake procedures, care for patients, teach students and medical residents and conduct research from a base of operations at the Medical Center itself. In many cases, the patients they see are those who do not have a primary care physician in the community. The care provided by these faculty members is usually done in conjunction with the training of students and medical residents, who directly care for patients while being supervised by members of the division. Full-time faculty members hold academic appointments as professors at a medical school, typically at the University of California, Los Angeles or the University of Southern California. The private attending internists maintain offices in the community and spend the bulk of their time engaged in private medical practice. They use the facilities of the medical center when their patients require admission to the hospital or, in many cases, when a patient requires specialized procedures or testing. While the two groups interact in many ways in the provision of patient care and in the administration of the Medical Center, they do not compete for patients.
The provision of high-quality patient care usually requires the cooperation of practitioners of many different disciplines, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists and other important members of the healthcare team. The primary care physician, often a general internist, is the physician who sees a patient through all phases of his or her care and who coordinates the efforts of other professionals to provide all facets of the patient's care, including disease prevention, diagnosis, acute and chronic treatment and rehabilitation.