Hospital Medicine Program Continues to Grow At WMHS
The next time you are admitted to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, your primary care provider may refer you to a hospitalist, who will coordinate your care during your hospital stay. As the name implies, hospitalists specialize in providing care to patients while they are in the hospital.
Thanks to advances in medicine, physicians now admit fewer patients to the hospital and see a greater number of patients in their office each day. This makes it difficult for them to spend as much time as they would like with their hospitalized patients. Choosing to have a hospitalist care for their hospitalized patients enables them to spend more time in the office seeing patients.
"More local physicians are choosing to refer their patients to our team of hospitalists,” explains Steven Smith, M.D., Director of the WMHS Hospital Medicine Program. "The use of hospitalists to coordinate inpatient care is a national trend that continues to grow, especially here in Western Maryland. In fact, we recently had to hire additional hospitalists to accommodate the local primary care providers who have asked to use the hospital medicine program for their patients.”
Hospitalists are available 24 hours a day in the hospital to direct care, order tests and adjust treatment based on those results. Hospitalist can quickly respond to changes in a patient’s condition and also can obtain consultations with specialists if necessary.
The patient’s family doctor is kept informed about the patient’s condition and consulted about treatment options and follow-up care. When discharged, patients return to the care of their regular primary care provider, who will receive a detailed report about the patient’s hospital stay.
"Patients and their families appreciate that the hospitalists are easily accessible around the clock to discuss their plan of care and answer any questions they may have,” continues Smith. "This arrangement is a win-win proposition for patients and their physicians. It enables patients to have more access to their primary care physician in the office as well as having 24-7 access to a physician that can see them as often as necessary while they are in the hospital to ensure the best care possible.”
The Hospital Medicine Program at WMHS began in 2005 and the team includes physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Hospitalists also coordinate the care of inpatients that do not have a primary care physician and assist them with finding a primary care provider for their follow-up care.
For more information about the Hospital Medicine program at WMHS, please call 240-964-8564.