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Featured: The rise of the hospitalist

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | April 28, 2014
From the April 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“The community portion of that is something that we’re working on as well,” Archer says. “We’ve developed longstanding relationships with different groups. It would be great if that introduction could take place even before a patient comes into the hospital. That’s what we’re trying to work on, getting our literature into different offices.”

There can be some growing pains for a hospitalist program when it first starts, especially in a community such as Greenwich, where many people have a strong relationship with their primary care doctors. The general policy at Greenwich Hospital is that a hospitalist calls a patient’s primary care physician on admission and discharge, and when there’s a change in a patient’s condition.

“We heavily lean on making phone calls whenever there’s a question,” Archer says. “Many times, a patient has several physicians. When a condition warrants, we’re often calling all of them. It’s become a cultural issue.”

A major challenge these days is the transition of care back to the primary doctor.

“That’s probably the biggest challenge most hospitalist groups are facing now,” Archer says. “That’s something that we’re working hard at all the time and we’re trying to figure out best practices that involve both technology and person-to-person communication.”

Los Angeles-based IPC, which employs more than 1,400 full-time hospitalists in 28 states, and is considered the nation’s leading provider of hospital medicine, has about a third of its staff in post-acute care facilities, including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Todd Kislak, IPC’s vice president of marketing and development, says that by coordinating with the hospitals where IPC also operates, it helps with continuity of care.

“In the Affordable Care Act, there’s a lot of discussion about treating the whole patient,” Kislak says. “Where possible, IPC continues care of patients as they transition between acute and post-acute care to create better outcomes and improve patient satisfaction.”

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