Hospitalists Join Houston Medical Center Staff
Houston Medical Center is now utilizing Hospitalists to deliver care to patients in the hospital. Below are questions and answers regarding the Hospitalist program.
What is a hospitalist?
A hospitalist is a trained physician that specializes in inpatient medicine caring for patients while they are in the hospital. If the patient's Primary Care Physician (PCP) is located in Houston County, the hospitalist will work with them to manage the patient's care while they are in the hospital.
What are the goals of the Hospitalist program at Houston Medical Center?
The first goal of the Hospitalist program is to continue providing and improving quality patient care. Secondly, the hospitalists are available to support the physicians. Lastly, support of the clinical and ancillary staffs is key to the success of this program.
What are the benefits for the hospital and the patients once this program begins?
The benefits to both the hospital and the patients are a decreased length of stay and costs per patient, improved resource utilization and continuing to maintain the overall quality of care for our patients.
How do hospitalists help decrease costs and lengths of stay?
Because hospitalists are available 24/7 and do not have an outpatient practice, they are able to focus their time on the provision of care to the inpatient population and create a sense of urgency throughout the hospital. Being readily available allows them to follow-up on test/procedures, etc in a timely manner and discharge patients, as they are medically ready to be discharged. They are actively involved in care management and begin planning for discharge at the time of admission. Additionally, hospitalists can lead quality improvement teams to focus on the development of care protocols to assist in reducing variations in care.
How will the patient's primary physician know what happens during their hospitalization?
The hospitalist group will be in frequent contact with the patient's physician, relaying the details of their care. The physician will also be notified if anything unexpected happens during their stay.
Will the patient still see other physicians while in the hospital?
The hospitalist group may consult specialists (such as cardiologists, neurologists, etc) to assist in the care of the patient if necessary.
Who will talk to the family regarding the care their family member is receiving while in the hospital?
With the patient's permission, the family will be contacted by a member of the hospitalist group. A hospitalist will be available throughout the day to answer any questions the patient or family members may have.
What are the benefits to the patients if their physician chooses to utilize the hospitalist?
The hospitalist group is available to patients around the clock, seven days a week. The patient can see them as often as necessary. Also, because hospitalists are based at the hospital, decisions can be made quickly as situations arise. Treatments are modified and test results followed up. This may help prevent medical complications, reduce hospital stays and lower costs to the patient.
Will the hospitalist practice also provide outpatient medical services?
No, the hospitalist practice will refer all patients back to their primary care physician for follow-up and ongoing care.
When will the hospitalist be available?
The hospitalist will have an office located in Houston Medical Center in the area where Post-Partum (2 South) was previously located. They will be available 24 hours a day/7 days a week to provide care and services.
How will the continuity of care be maintained between the inpatient and outpatient setting?
Communication is key in successfully implementing a hospitalist program and maintaining continuity of care. The PCP will be provided pertinent information about the patient's hospitalization to include the discharge summary, discharge instructions and discharge medications. In some cases, the hospitalist may choose to personally contact the PCP to discuss special issues or concerns.
Can the PCP continue to see their patients that are under the care of the hospitalist?
During the hospitalization, the hospitalist is the attending physician of record; however, PCP's are welcome to provide courtesy visits to their patients. If they have any specific questions, recommendations or concerns, they are welcome to contact the hospitalist and discuss.