People are always talking about “trends” in healthcare, and I would like to share a little with you on one of today’s most prevalent trends: hospitalists.
You might be asking yourself “what is a hospitalist?”
Simply put, a hospitalist is a physician who specializes in the care of patients in a hospital setting. Hospitalists first became popular in the field of Internal Medicine about 10 years ago, and due to the success of this model, the hospitalist concept has expanded to almost every field of medicine. Whether it’s a Pediatric Hospitalist, an Internal Medicine Hospitalist, or an Obstetrical Hospitalist, the hospitalist is a member of the healthcare team who provides 24/7 onsite presence, bringing peace of mind for patients.
Knowing what hospitalists are and how they can supplement your usual healthcare is important – especially for expectant mothers. As a board-certified OB/Gyn, I see firsthand that expectant mothers have frequent questions and concerns. And those questions and concerns can strike at 2 p.m. or 2 a.m. That’s where OB hospitalists come in.
What is an OB Hospitalist?
An OB hospitalist is a board-certified obstetrician who, while on duty, remains physically present at the hospital to provide immediate care whenever it is needed. An OB hospitalist may collaborate with a patient’s own OB/Gyn to provide timely and comprehensive care for patients around the clock. This is especially beneficial at times when the patient’s own OB/Gyn may not be immediately available due to scheduling commitments or other patients. The OB hospitalist may also be the first responder in the case of obstetrical emergencies. The hospitalist can function to provide care, such as prepare for an emergency C-section, until the patient’s physician arrives. In the field of obstetrics, those minutes can be vitally important.
What type of care will an OB Hospitalist provide?
Sometimes patients come into the hospital with symptoms that may be unrelated to the pregnancy, such as gastroenteritis or influenza. Given the private obstetrician’s demanding schedule, and depending on the patient’s condition, a patient could wait several hours before being evaluated by a physician. With OB hospitalists available, physicians now have the option of utilizing hospitalists to assist in the evaluation of patients and to address their patient’s needs around the clock.
On the other hand, if a patient is going into labor or is having other symptoms directly related to the pregnancy, the OB hospitalist is available, at the private obstetrician’s request, to assist in the management of labor or other care until he/she arrives.
The hospitalist works in collaboration with the patient’s private physician, no matter what time of day (or night) to support the patient and their OB/Gyn doctor and to ensure implementation of the best plan of care.
Where does an OB Hospitalist fall into the Patient/Physician relationship?
Prior to becoming a hospitalist, I was in private practice in the community for 6 years.
In fact, every member of the OB Hospitalist group has had experience in private practice prior to becoming a hospitalist. We appreciate and respect the sacred relationships that develop between patients and their obstetricians. We know that pregnancy and childbirth are times of great excitement but also that patients often feel anxious or vulnerable. We understand the demands on physicians’ time and recognize that physicians can’t be in two places at once.
With all of this in mind, we strive to augment the patient/physician relationship. We value the patient/physician relationship and in the spirit of teamwork and collaboration, our goal is to ensure that all patients who come to Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital for maternity care will receive timely, efficient and comprehensive care…every patient, every day, every time.
Tanner Colegrove, MD, leads the new OB Hospitalist team at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, with the goal of creating a center of excellence for maternity care.