Hospitalists - A Growing Specialty - Improve Patient Care

by Michael Johns, Project Manager | June 20, 2006

Hickey, who came to the emergency room as a result of unexplained bleeding, said that when he previously stayed at Baptist East, he was visited by a family physician.

But his physician stopped coming to the hospital and referred him to the Nikorb group for inpatient care.

Hickey said he saw Gabbard at least once per day, and the physician seemed to "have a good handle" on his condition.

What patients such as Hickey don't see is that after Gabbard spends five to 10 minutes with a patient, he spends another 20 to 30 minutes per patient at the nurses' station, coordinating care with specialty physicians or surgeons, ordering tests and studying patients' charts.

And Gabbard's practice has established a telephone-based system that allows him to dictate notes when a patient is discharged so the notes can be transcribed and later sent to the patient's primary-care physicians.

That took longer than I wanted," Gabbard said after a being held up while waiting for Hickey's surgeon to return a phone call so Gabbard could write an order to release the patient from the hospital.

"Nobody sees this part of it. Most of them don't know how long all of this takes."

For the original story, go here: At home in the hospital: A growing number of physicians focus their practices on treating acute-care hospital patients

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