I invited Dr. Tim Appenheimer to explain the Hospitalist program which launches next Monday. With this new program, our goal is to efficiently use physician and staff time in order to improve patient care and satisfaction.
You have almost certainly heard reports that KSB is preparing to implement a hospitalist program. You probably have a general idea what this means, but I would like to give you specifics regarding how a hospitalist program will look here at KSB. The first stage of the KSB Hospitalist program will become real on Monday, October 4. On this date, two physicians–Dr. Tammy Homman, and Dr. Kashif Sherwani–begin their work as KSB hospitalists. Of course, a hospitalist is a physician (usually a general internist or family physician) who serves as the patient’s primary doctor while he or she is hospitalized. Our goal in the near term is to add two more hospitalists to our ranks, for a total of 4 hospitalists who will ultimately provide ongoing inpatient care to many of our adult inpatients. But our plans go beyond simply hiring a number of physicians to see inpatients at KSB. The operative word in this article’s title is program. We hope to streamline patient care, increase patient safety, and augment physician and staff satisfaction by incorporating teamwork and structured communication into the care process. Teamwork. On each weekday morning the hospitalist program interdisciplinary team (IDT) will meet to review the status of each patient on the service. IDT members will include front-line representatives of nursing, pharmacy, social services, dietary, and utilization management. The meeting will be led by the hospitalist physician on duty, with administrative support from a program assistant. Other relevant caregivers may be called in to review specific cases. Shared input from a variety of clinical points of view will help to streamline and coordinate our patients’ care. Communication. Doing Things Right in working as a team requires careful attention to structured communication among team members. Additionally, physicians providing care to the patient before and after the inpatient episode must be kept “in the loop”. Our hospitalist physicians and other team members understand that time spent in effective communication is time well-spent. Good communication among caregivers is not optional. It is essential to good overall patient care, and actually saves time in the long run. As we begin on October 4, the hospitalist patient panel will include only those patients admitted through the ED who have no local physician, i.e.“no-docs”. Over the next several weeks, as the program matures and becomes fully staffed, we will begin accepting patients from the practices of those KSB medical staff physicians who request hospitalist services for their inpatients. This is voluntary on the part our medical staff’s primary care physicians. As the hospitalist program matures, we anticipate that hospitalists will care for 15-18 adult inpatients daily. Look for more information about the hospitalist program in future installments of The Pulse. If you have more questions about the specifics of the program, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.