When it comes to caring for hospitalized patients, it takes a true team to collaborate around the clock with physicians and support services to treat each patient’s health needs. Beginning in March, Southwest Medical Center added a new hospitalist program to strengthen its approach to care by providing hospital patients 24-hour access to an in-house physician.
This new program brings in physicians – known as hospitalists – to partner with a patient’s primary care physician to provide treatment to that patient during their hospital stay. Both internal medicine and family medicine physicians have the option to partner with and refer their patients to hospitalists. Hospitalist programs are a growing trend in hospitals nationwide as they offer a number of benefits to both patients and physicians.
“In traditional medicine, a primary-care physician cares for both patients walking into their clinic and their patients who have been hospitalized,” SWMC President and CEO Bill Ermann explained. “Bringing in a hospitalist allows for inpatients to have immediate access to a physician on-site and for physicians to have more time in their clinics to see more patients. Changes in healthcare over several years have created a need for more access to primary-care physicians, so adding a hospitalist program has been one practical way for SWMC to make that happen in our community.”
Creating the framework for Southwest Medical Center’s program is hospitalist director, Dr. Andrey Ilyasov. Dr. Ilyasov has been practicing medicine for more than 25 years and worked as a cardiologist and internal medicine physician before using his skills to build a hospitalist program in 2011 at a South Carolina hospital.
“I moved to South Carolina and started up a hospitalist program in a hospital similar to the size of Southwest Medical Center,” Ilyasov said. “In two years, it was up and running well. Then the hospital was acquired by a larger hospital system – that pushed me to look for another hospital that would be interested in my expertise.”
Dr. Ilyasov explained there are a few key traits that are crucial to building a successful program.
“Relationships mean so much to start up and maintain a hospitalist program. That’s what I’m focused on trying to do,” Ilyasov said. “You must also have good support from primary-care physicians. It’s about developing a trust with them and communicating well with all physicians. Hospitalists must also maintain the same style with which primary-care physicians treat their patients.”
As with many hospitalist programs, Southwest Medical Center’s program allows primary-care physicians to check in on their patients and receive consistent updates on their condition. Upon discharge, the hospitalist will work closely with the patient’s primary-care physician to create discharge instructions and treatments.
Dr. V. Randy Gill, internal medicine physician, says he sees great benefit for both patients and physicians with the addition of a hospitalist program.
“The hospitalist program is a win-win situation for patients as well as their physicians. This program will allow physicians to spend more time taking care of their patients in out-patient clinics, while at the same time, knowing that their hospitalized patients are being well taken care of by a qualified hospitalist,” Gill explained. “Not only are hospitalists specialized for the in-patient setting, but they are physically in the hospital most of the time. This means at a moment’s notice, they can be at a patient’s bedside. Overall, I think having the hospitalist program will be very beneficial for the patients, and I want to welcome the new physicians to our community.”
Dr. Ilyasov will be joined by another hospitalist, Dr. Rama Chanda, in the Fall and Southwest Medical Center has plans to add a third physician to the hospitalist team.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to bring a hospitalist program back to Southwest Medical Center. We expect this to be a great benefit to our patients, our community and our physicians,” Ermann said. “We appreciate the support that our medical staff and the SWMC Board of Trustees have provided in making this program a reality for our community.”