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By: Amy VanBlaricom, MD, Ob Hospitalist Group Medical Director of Operations based out of Seattle, WA
Did you know that as the U.S. population grows, the number of physicians going into the OB/GYN specialty remains the same? The OB/GYN shortage will increasingly become an issue, but OB hospitalist programs can help relieve community physicians who are stretched too thin and quickly burning out.
As Medical Director of Operations at Ob Hospitalist Group (OBHG), I see firsthand the impact our hospitalist programs bring to our partners, the community, mothers, and babies. Here are 10 reasons why it’s time for your hospital to elevate the standard of women’s healthcare and seriously consider implementing a 24/7 OB hospitalist program. And I’m not talking just any program - OBHG’s program.
1. OBHG hospitalists support your nurses
With an OB/GYN in the hospital 24/7, nurses have around-the-clock support. They can ask questions, voice concerns, and get second opinions on interventions in real time versus having to hunt down a private physician and pulling them out of their office. OBHG hospitalists attend multidisciplinary board rounds and address concerns about patients. They are able to make recommendations on whether to engage a private physician.
2. OBHG provides increased safety through OB triage and emergency response
OBHG hospitalists are always onsite to care for any obstetrical emergency that may walk through the door. This can improve outcomes in high-volume programs with high acuity rates or lower-volume programs where physicians may have minimal experience with emergencies. Our program can also positively impact your hospital’s medical malpractice insurance premiums and save money.
3. Our hospitalists engage and build relationships with your private physicians
Our clinicians collaborate and build relationships with private physicians. As private physicians feel more comfortable with OBHG doing their deliveries, they are able to be more productive in their offices. They are also more likely to continue doing OB and retire later due to having hospital coverage and an increased quality of life. Private physicians are more likely to offer VBACs to their patients if there is a physician in-house. Additionally, our hospitalists can see, manage, and coordinate care for unassigned and uninsured patients to tuck them in with an outpatient provider where necessary. This can improve outcomes to these patients who would most likely otherwise fall through the healthcare system cracks.
4. OBHG programs entice new business from community physicians
The presence of an OBHG hospitalist program in your hospital may bring in new business from primary physicians, midwives, or family practice physicians in the community who may not have brought their patients in before. Once our program is implemented, our clinicians collaborate with you to conduct community outreach to those untapped patients who may not have otherwise come to your hospital. You can promote the 24/7 presence of an OB physician in case of emergency.
5. Our OB hospitalists improve safety through enhanced communication
OBHG hospitalists consistently communicate with private physicians about their patients to provide the most seamless care possible. They are also involved in multidisciplinary drills and simulations to help remove systematic inefficiencies and bottlenecks. This helps to find holes in the system and work to repair them. Our hospitalists also have access to a national network of over 600 OB clinicians in our 130 programs and can share best practices and challenges.
6. Our hospital partners optimize care using our national dataset
OBHG’s hospital teams contribute to safety protocols and build quality metrics for all of our partner hospitals We not only help you report those metrics, but we help you improve data such as reducing cesarean section rates, lowering early labor induction, improving the time it takes to administer medication in hypertensive emergencies, offering VBACs, and more. All of these things improve safety and cut down on healthcare dollars spent, which results in improved outcomes and metrics. These are things that payors look for when they consider contracting with a hospital.
7. OBHG clinicians champion new initiatives within their hospital and outside
Our clinicians are not just OBHG employees, they are part of their hospital’s staff and community. They are healthcare leaders who take part in community and even statewide initiatives. Many of our programs are in critical-access hospitals or referral centers where improved systematic care for patients can be driven by standardized protocols for infection prevention, minimizing complication rates, and managing the complicated medical care of those who have not driven that management themselves. For example, one of our programs is involved in a statewide initiative to decrease perinatal and postoperative infection rates.
8. Our 24/7 presence can improve patient satisfaction scores
Your patients will see an engaged, caring physician every time. OBHG hospitalists are equipped to answer questions and provide instructions in-person versus having to communicate with the primary OB if he/she cannot be present in the hospital. This improves patients’ experience and overall impression of the hospital.
9. OBHG’s program can bring revenue to your hospital
In addition to the possibility of increasing volume of patients overall - what patient wouldn’t want to be seen by a qualified physician every time, if that were an option? We can also enhance your billing and coding process and capture revenue that you may be leaving on the table now by billing triage visits as OB emergency department (OBED) visits.
10. Our OB emergency departments increase throughput
By having a physician in the labor and delivery unit 24/7, patients can move through to delivery faster and experience shorter lengths of stay as they we can actively manage them. Primary physicians can request that our physicians start rounding earlier if they aren’t able to, which can result in more timely discharges. This can affect length of stay in the hospital in general, which improves hospital efficiency, and as a bonus, payors like it too.