Creating a Better Way

By Chris Swain, MD (President, Chief Medical Officer) on July 11th, 2013

As the founder of Ob Hospitalist Group (OBHG), the leading OB/GYN hospitalist provider in the nation, I’m frequently asked to describe the event that led me to its creation. However, it wasn’t just one event, but a series of compounding issues and strains I experienced as a private practicing OB/GYN that led me to realize there were some significant voids in women’s health care – in both hospitals and private practices.Those voids were most evident in the high-stress situations of trying to be in two places at once – seeing a patient in the office while a laboring patient experiences an unforeseen emergency at the hospital. They were also apparent during nights filled with phone calls or during a child’s ballgame with a beeper going off right before their big moment.

These voids weren’t just experienced by me or my partnering physicians, but by the hospitals themselves. Unscheduled patients presenting to the hospital in the first half of pregnancy were seen in the emergency department by an emergency physician. Patients seen in the second half of pregnancy were considered too high-risk for the emergency department, so they were sent to the Obstetrics Triage Unit where they were often evaluated only by a nurse, not a physician, before being discharged. Astonishingly, the Obstetrics Triage Unit was the only place in the entire hospital where unscheduled patients were allowed to be discharged without being evaluated by a physician.

As an OB/GYN, one of my biggest fears was that I would be unable to be where I needed to be, when I needed to be there. I came to believe that there had to be a better and safer way to do some of the things we do.

In 2006, I started OBHG in hopes creating that better way.  I wanted to help private physicians and hospitals fill some of the voids that I had experienced for so many years. The OB/GYN hospitalist model that evolved, and that OBHG has implemented in more than 40 hospitals to date, is one that focuses on each and every pregnant patient that presents to the hospital, and provides much-needed support for private OB/GYN physicians. We currently employ more than 220 Board Certified physicians who have served patients and supported physician over 775,000 hours so far. 

An OBHG hospitalist program takes into consideration the fact that patients want and expect to be delivered by their own physician; and private physicians want and need to deliver these patients to sustain their practices. The OBHG hospitalist is not a replacement for private physicians, but an extension of the private OB/GYN practice that can be utilized in times of need.

OBHG hospitalists are emergency responders who will react to any obstetric or gynecologic emergency within the hospital. Additionally, there are other core functions in most OBHG programs, including the management of the obstetrics triage unit, evaluation and management of unassigned obstetric patients and management of any unassigned gynecology patient requiring urgent care from a  specialist.
Most hospitalist programs provide additional support services for local physicians to assist or manage patients in labor, often including VBAC management, supervising oxytocin augmentation, ordering epidurals, amniotomy, placement of fetal scalp electrode, evaluation of bleeding, and review of questionable tracings. In this scenario, the private physician at home or in the office continues to be the "captain of the ship," with the hospitalist playing a supporting role.

OBHG hospitalist programs provide partner hospitals with in-house coverage by experienced, Board Certified OB/GYNs. This increases patient safety, improves patient and staff satisfaction, helps private physicians achieve the optimal work/life balance, and, most importantly, saves lives. Saving lives of women and their newborns has become the mantra by which our team lives each and every day. It is what drives OBHG to continuously grow, improve, and expand this new, better way.  

We invite you to discover more about OBHG and the advantages that our customized programs deliver to our partner hospitals, physicians and patients.  An OBHG representative would be happy to answer any questions you have as well. Or schedule a consultation today!

Written and published by OBHG Media. Copyright © 2013.

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