I’m a hospitalist. If you ever have to check into a hospital and you’re a Kelsey-Seybold Clinic patient, you may meet me or one of the clinic’s other hospitalists. The Kelsey-Seybold Clinic Hospitalist Program provides specialized care for hospitalized patients at various locations including CHI St. Luke’s Health – Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital and The Woman’s Hospital of Texas. We also have a vast network of affiliate physicians who take care of Kelsey-Seybold patients at many other Houston area hospitals.
Hospitalists are physicians who take over the care of the patient from the primary care physician (PCP) while the patient is in the hospital. Our role is to ensure that each patient receives the level of care that is required for the acuity of the disease. We coordinate the care of the patient with the PCP and specialists involved in the care. Once the patient is discharged, we ensure the patient is handed back to their PCP.
Over time, inpatient care has grown increasingly complex. As such, the hospitalist’s role of managing and overseeing this care is becoming more essential in the hospital setting. To meet this need, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic has a team of 12 hospitalists (including pediatric hospitalists) stationed at several local hospitals.
This approach improves healthcare in multiple dimensions: Hospitalists enhance both quality of care and how that care is delivered. We help in the care coordination, improving patient experience and reducing unnecessary procedures.
Hospitalists don’t take the place of primary care physicians. We supplement the care that patients are already receiving from their outpatient doctors by coordinating and monitoring their hospital care with input from their primary care physician. We observe and evaluate the patient’s status, progress and test results, which allows us to provide evidence-based diagnoses – not to mention personal, patient-centered care.
We also communicate and collaborate with other Kelsey-Seybold specialists as needed to best coordinate care. By maintaining a continuous flow of information, we can better ensure that each patient undergoes the procedures, test and treatments that he or she needs – no more, no less.
Through hands-on interaction and an understanding of medical history, hospitalists are able to get to know each patient’s unique needs during his or her hospital stay.
In addition to improving patient satisfaction, the hospitalist model helps make better use of hospital resources.
Another way to think of giving patients just the care they need is to not give them what they don’t. For example, if one of your physicians has already diagnosed you with a certain condition, a hospitalist should have access to that diagnosis so you won’t mistakenly be tested for it again. This could save time and resources both for you and the hospital where you might be staying.
Dr. Rupesh Nigam is a hospitalist who cares for Kelsey-Seybold patients who are hospitalized. He joined Kelsey-Seybold in 2011 and is the Associate Medical Director of Hospital Services.