Hospital administrators have a lot to consider when looking for a partner to provide obstetric coverage. The health and safety of patients is first and foremost, but there are many other factors to consider, such as the guarantee of consistent coverage and smooth integration of OB physicians into team.
Dignity Health’s St. Rose Dominican Hospital was considering different options for OB coverage and faced a relatively short implementation timeline. Asia Dean, former Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development of Dignity Health, found that Ob Hospitalist Group ticked every box. While OBHG has the benefit of being a national network, Dean admits this was a lower priority than other components.
“It wasn’t really a decision of whether to go national versus local. It was really about who can provide what the hospital needs and be a partner with our staff, our community physicians and our administration,” she said. “We also did a lot of background research on credentials and the customer service aspect. Ultimately, we decided that for what we were looking for, what we needed, OBHG met that need.”
Support from start to finish
Another advantage Dean saw in an OBHG partnership were the access to vast resources, including recruitment tools, educational support and quality metrics. OBHG’s ability to fully implement the program within a shortened timeline of approximately 90 days was also favorable.
“That’s not common at all, I think for both groups. But, both teams were so completely invested and involved throughout the entire process,” notes Dean. “We did a great job of working together and getting everything off the ground. We worked through the challenges together as they came, and just remained flexible and open and ready to do whatever was needed to make sure the partnership was successful.”
A dedication to quality, from both parties
From a quality standpoint, St. Rose Dominican has local objectives that are assessed every month. Dignity Health is also part of a larger national organization, CommonSpirit Health. It was hospital leaders’ top priority that this partnership consistently achieves quality goals on both local and national levels.
Overall, Dean says that ensuring quality outcomes is the most critical factor—no matter the size of your healthcare organization. She advises any hospital or health system “in the hunt” to consider this above all else.
“Quality is something that definitely can’t be compromised when you’re choosing a group,” she said. “Make sure you are aligned first on quality. And also consider the potential drawbacks of recruitment challenges and trying to tackle that on your own. Don’t neglect the importance and the benefits of having a national group who has a robust toolkit for recruitment and the ability to have quality providers on site.”
Weighing cost vs. benefit
Of course, cost is always going to be a determinant in a hospital’s final selection. In Dean’s opinion, it’s worth looking at the cost-benefit ratio, especially in terms of being able to fully serve the community.
“Our labor and delivery units can get busy at times,” said Dean. “So, we wanted to make sure that when we’re at capacity, when we have unexpected emergencies and the community physicians are already busy serving their patients or they might be in a GYN surgery, that we have someone at all times who is available to take those emergency situations and also see patients who come in don’t have an OB provider.”