Pediatric Hospitalists, How They Make a Difference
The Hospitalist Model: Dedicated to Pediatric Needs
Any parent will tell you one of the scariest moments in life is when your child is hurting—particularly if a hospital stay is involved.
Whether it’s a newborn who has arrived prematurely or a toddler suffering from a nasty flu, seeing the familiar face of your family pediatrician in such situations is reassuring. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible.
That’s when the hospitalist model steps in and truly makes an impact on the level of care these young patients receive. In fact, while apprehension surrounding this model often arises during the initial stages of one’s stay, the benefits to the patient are evident.
What Is the “Hospitalist Model”?
In simple terms, a physician who acts as a hospitalist takes care of patients who are in the hospital—essentially anyone who is admitted to the hospital or needs to get their care in a hospital-based setting.
“As pediatricians in this setting, we take care of newborns in the nursery or kids who are admitted from their doctor’s office to the inpatient floor,” explains Dr. Veena Bhamre, pediatric hospitalist with the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital who partners with Riverside. “We also attend deliveries, ready to assist babies that might need some extra help and oftentimes aid in the ER. Ultimately, we serve as a ‘base’ for help in pediatric care.”
Overcoming Patient Apprehension
Of course, anyone placed in a hospital-stay scenario would find comfort in seeing their own family doctor or in this case, their child’s doctor. But, consider outpatient physicians’ schedules. If they were to attend to their hospital-based “kid cases,” it would likely need to be on a lunch break or before or after scheduled office hour appointments.
On the other hand, pediatric hospitalists are available to dedicate themselves to inpatient needs and provide the focus and care required to get their little patients on the road to recovery.
“The outpatient doctor can center on her patients in the outpatient setting and deliver the best care to those patients in that time. Because we are just in the inpatient setting, we can concentrate on those patients only in the hospital. So, each side can focus independently, and in that way, deliver better care,” states Dr. Bhamre.
Once patients and parents understand the immediate accessibility of hospitalists—and the resulting quality of care—their apprehension typically wanes.
Keeping Physician Communication Lines Open
A key factor for the hospitalist model to work effectively and efficiently is ensuring open communication lines between the attending hospitalists and one’s family pediatrician. Electronic medical records (EMRs) make that a bit easier, but direct communication is still important.
“We always call the child’s doctor upon discharge and inform what the child’s care encompassed, what interventions we may have done, and what follow-ups were administered. We also provide a copy of the discharge summary,” explains Dr. Bhamre.
The Hospitalist’s Core Value: Care
At the very core of the hospitalist model—whether pediatric or other—is quality of care. These physicians have various reasons for choosing the hospitalist tract, including Dr. Bhamre.
“When I was in residency, I had a lot of great mentors and role models who were hospitalists, and I ended up really enjoying it. It was the one rotation where I was the happiest as I left for the day. No matter how crazy the day was, there was always at least one kid who smiled or laughed or made everything really worthwhile. So, I figured if I was going to do something for the next forty years, I should have that at the end of each day.”
**Listen to an interview with Dr. Veena Bhamre, pediatric hospitalist with the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.