A hospitalist without a hospital? It’s almost laughable. However, Vituity hospitalists are excited to be at the forefront of this paradigm shift where healthcare leaders rethink the concepts of “hospital” and “inpatient” care.
“Today’s patients are looking for more convenience and access,” says Joshua Niebruegge, MD, Vice President of Hospital Medicine at Vituity. “They want healthcare to be as seamless as online shopping or banking. For hospitals, this means meeting patients when and where they need us. Which might mean taking the patient, the clinician, or both outside hospital walls.”
Hospitals will always exist to serve the sickest and most vulnerable patients. But not all “inpatients” require face-to-face care on-site. Nor are there enough hospitalists to provide this level of service. Fortunately, innovative hospitalist programs like Vituity’s are bridging these gaps.
Remote monitoring: Due to the nationwide shortage of intensivists, ICUs adopted virtual care early. At Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS), Vituity physicians have evolved a hub-and-spoke model in which an intensivist panel uses remote monitoring and telehealth to support critical patients at community and rural hospitals. This helps patients to avoid transfers and receive ICU care close to home.
Virtual rounding: During the coronavirus pandemic, many Vituity hospitalist practices extended virtual care to all inpatients through virtual rounding. Seeing patients via telehealth helped to preserve personal protective equipment and also allowed quarantined physicians to work from home. Going forward, such models could allow for more flexible staffing as well as scaling of hospitalist programs to community and critical accesss hospitals.
Hospital-at-home: Perhaps one of the most exciting models to gain traction is the hospital-at-home concept. “The pandemic got us thinking creatively,” says Gurvinder Kaur, MD, MHA, Chief Medical Officer at Adventist Health Central Valley Network in CA. “We were the first system in our region to create a virtual hospital, and it’s had excellent outcomes.”
Redesigning care delivery around patients may sound like a heavy lift. But in the long run, it makes life easier for all involved. “When we focus on the patient, we create a positive reinforcement loop that’s a win for everyone—patients, providers, and hospitals,” says Payton McGowen, MD, System Medical Director for Hospital Medicine at HSHS.
The benefits include:
How can health systems partner with hospitalists to bring patient-centered care models to life? First and foremost, they must create cultures of caring. “Great cultures embrace both the human and the clinical aspects of medicine,” Dr. Niebruegge says. “Viewing patient care as a shared goal inspires us to work together and lift up our colleagues.”
Providers should also request a seat at the table. “Providers are our greatest innovation assets,” Dr. Niebruegge says. “Healthcare is going to continue to change. It has to. As frontline providers, who better to lead that transformation than us?”
Hospitalists leading change from the front line
In partnership with Today’s Hospitalist, Vituity hosted a webinar on the evolution of care delivery and the changing roles of the hospitalist.
In this moderated discussion, a panel of clinical leaders from Vituity examine how its hospitalists play a critical role in redefining the patient experience and how hospitalists can prepare now to be successful with virtual hospital care models.