What a great relief it is to know “the doctor is in.” The hospitalist, that is, when an emergency arises.
The “hospitalist” is a physician whose practice is dedicated entirely to the care of hospitalized patients. Not all hospitals offer such care, but Valley Medical Center recognizes the immediate benefit to both patients and doctors, and has expanded the presence of hospitalists to meet increasing demand for their services.
“At VMC, physicians are available to address ongoing and emergent medical needs of hospitalized patients 24 hours a day,” says Kathryn Beattie, MD, Chief Medical Officer.
The specialty developed with the goals of improving care quality and overall efficiency. Traditionally, primary care physicians struggled to be in two places at once: the hospital and the office. Some continue to balance both. But the hospitalist model offers community physicians the option to focus on outpatients in their offices while a highly trained peer tends to their hospitalized patients.
Since the hospitalist’s “office” is the hospital ward, they can take immediate action when tests come in, quickly respond if a patient’s condition changes or an emergency arises, and are readily accessible to the patient and family to address questions or concerns.
On admission, they communicate with a patient’s family doctor to closely coordinate treatment and any required referrals to specialists, and ensure that each patient has a smooth transition back to that primary physician’s care upon discharge. Medical records are updated and exchanged with the patient’s physician throughout the stay. And in cases where a patient does not have a primary physician, the hospitalist makes sure that one is identified for follow up care.
VMC has hospitalists for pediatrics and internal medicine and earlier this year added obstetrics to assure safe arrival for those newborns who pay little attention to schedules! The obstetrics hospitalist program enhances patient safety and care by ensuring that a board certified physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology is in the hospital and immediately available at all times – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.