Hospitalist Program Guided by Local Physician
Friday, July 20, 2012
Archbold Memorial Hospital recently announced a change in management of its hospitalist program which is now being coordinated by Allen Lee, M.D., owner of Southland Physicians, LLC.
Archbold worked with an out-of-state company for several years to provide staffing and coordination for the hospitalist program, but Archbold president and CEO Perry Mustian says he wanted to work with a local physician to enhance the program for patients.
“I’m very excited to be working with Dr. Lee and the Southland physician group,” Mustian said. “Dr. Lee and his family live in Thomasville and he is currently focused on ways to more effectively serve our inpatients and referring physicians.”
The term “hospitalist” may be a new term to some. Hospitalists are physicians that specialize in the care of hospitalized patients. Hospitalists are on site, within the hospital seven days a week, 24 hours a day providing continuity of care during the patient’s hospital stay. They work as partners with patients’ primary care physicians and appropriate specialists throughout the hospital.
A growing number of primary care physicians have made the decision to focus on seeing patients in their office and choose not to admit their patients to the hospital. If a physician has made this decision, they make arrangements with a hospitalist group to coordinate the care for patients who need to be admitted to the hospital.
The hospitalist concept has grown rapidly across the country. In 2003, 30% of hospitals had hospitalists on staff. That number jumped to 60% in 2010, and has continued to grow rapidly. This shift in practice methods has been initiated largely by primary care physicians due to a number of factors including convenience, efficiency, financial strains on primary care doctors, patient safety and the need for more specialized and coordinated care for hospitalized patients.
Citing some benefits of working with hospitalists, Lee noted, “With a hospitalist always on site, they are more available to review test results, communicate with nurses and other physicians, and meet with family members to answer questions.”
Nationally, hospitalist physicians have found that one of the keys to the success of the program is communication between the hospitalists and primary care physicians.
“This communication is a significant goal of ours,” said Lee. “Hospitalists must work closely with primary care physicians to ensure a complete understanding of a patient’s medical history and to share information about what care has taken place within the hospital.” Lee added, “Another commitment of ours is having the right group of physicians. We continue to strengthen the group with the addition of experienced hospital physicians that have long term interest in our hospital and community.”