If a hospital stay is in your future, don’t be surprised if you’re cared for by a relatively new kind of doctor: a hospitalist.
Unlike traditional doctors, this new type of physician doesn’t see patients away from a hospital. In fact, the hospitalist’s sole responsibility is to care for hospitalized patients, from admission to discharge — hence the name.
The great popularity of this new specialty is fueled by several factors:
— Hospitalists, most of whom are trained as primary care providers in family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics, become especially skilled at treating health problems common among hospitalized patients, such as pneumonia, infections, heart attacks and congestive heart failure.
— Hospitalists are readily available to their patients. Because they are hospital-based, hospitalists generally can respond quickly whenever a patient or family member has a question or concern. This contrasts with traditional doctors who often see their hospitalized patients only during morning or evening rounds.
— Because they are near their patient’s bedside, hospitalists can recognize and react quickly to any changes in their patient’s condition, which is a real advantage.
A growing body of research suggests that hospitalists, in collaboration with primary care physicians, improve the overall quality of patient care. Most studies show that hospitalists help reduce the risk of medical errors, reduce the length of patient stays and reduce hospital costs.
For example, if a patient is admitted to the hospital with pneumonia, a hospitalist may have seen dozens of such cases over the previous few months. Along with this extra experience treating that condition, a hospitalist can check on the patient regularly and share all pertinent information with other caregivers. The chances are that the patient will get better sooner and have fewer complications.
The most recent additions to SRMC’s hospitalist program are Drs. Rahul Dalvi, Manish Shah and Himani Shah.
Dr. Dalvi earned his medical degree from Grant Medical College in India in 1999. He completed an internal medicine residency at Louisiana State University/University, Ochsner and Touro Hospitals in New Orleans in 2008.
Dr. Dalvi also completed a master’s degree in public health at UNC Chapel Hill in 2001. He and his wife, Gauri, live in Fayetteville with their son, Jay.
Drs. Manish and Himani Shah, both of India, are married and live in Lumberton.
Dr. Manish Shah completed medical school at the American University of the Carribean in St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles in 2004. He completed an internal medicine residency at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., in 2007.
Dr. Himani Shah earned her medical degree from Osmania Medical College in India in 1998. She completed an internal medicine residency at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., in 2008.
SRMC’s hospitalists are in constant communication with primary care providers to ensure that they are well informed of the patient’s condition and plan of care once they are discharged from the hospital.
For information about Southeastern’s hospitalist program, call (910) 272-1485.
— Amanda Crabtree is the public relations director for Southeastern Regional Medical Center. She can be reached at email@example.com.