When Dr. Robert Wachter coined the term “hospitalist” in a 1996 New England Journal of Medicine article on what at the time was a new concept — doctors who only cared for hospitalized patients — he didn’t imagine how much the field would grow in such a short time.

“Things went viral very quickly,” recalls Wachter, now associate chairman of the Department of Medicine and chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine at University of California, San Francisco. “I began getting calls from hospitals immediately.”

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