The OBGYN hospitalist model is a testimony for capacity within the current health care system to undergo transformation and even disruption that will lead to improved patient outcomes and systems efficiency. Here are 7 key ways that hospitalists are shaking things up in the OBGYN profession:
- Attract, recruit and retain new OBGYNs: Medical students and OBGYNs coming out of residency are recoiling against the typical 80-100 hour work week demanded by the profession. A well designed hospitalist program within a hospital has been proven to improve physician recruitment and retention. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that there is always a 24/7 in-house OBGYN contributes to an effective, well-run labor & delivery floor. Many programs allow the private physician to sign out to the hospitalists. Hospitalists also mentor younger, less experienced practitioners.
- Effective and professional satisfaction: Many physicians feel disempowered or feel they do not have a meaningful stake within an organization. An OBGYN hospitalist is frequently placed in a position to collaborate with several different services such as perinatologists, midwives, family medicine (FM) physicians, OBGYN colleagues, an OBGYN or FM residency program and the Emergency Department. This sense of “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” contributes to greater professional satisfaction and new opportunities for leadership and growth.
- Addressing the supply and demand gap: Rather than taking early retirement or suffering from physician burnout, many OBGYNs are opting to transition to hospitalists. This is ensuring that decades of experience and essential labor & delivery leadership qualities are retained within the health care system. Instead of dropping obstetrics and doing only gynecology, many hospitalists do only obstetrics. In other words: New life for old obstetricians.
- Continual Learning and Progress: Complex and high-risk cases such as a difficult shoulder dystocia, postpartum hemorrhage or severe hypertension that OBGYN hospitalists regularly manage allows them to hone their clinical skills to the benefit of both hospitals and patients. Hospitalists become adept at managing obstetrical emergencies and are often asked to lead new patient care and safety initiatives.
- Allowing for work/life balance: OBGYN hospitalists typically work in the hospital for a set number of hours: usually 12 hour or 24 hour shifts. The structured hours allow physicians to have a life outside of work and to be able to spend time with family and loved ones. Encouraging physicians to manage their work/life balance is leading to better productivity, job satisfaction and improved patient outcomes.
- Lowering physician burnout and workplace stress: A 2017 Medscape survey reported that 56% of OBGYNs reported burnout, which was second only to Emergency Medicine at 59% and ahead of Family Medicine at 55%. As National Group hospitalist consultant Dr. Brendan Carroll says, “As a hospitalist I am not required to be in locations other than inside the hospital. Being able to solely focus on patient care, quality improvement, and teamwork along with clearly defined work hours makes for an optimal level of work/life balance”. In the 2016 Society of OBGYN Hospitalists (SOGH) survey, 91% responded as highly satisfied or satisfied with their own career choice.
- Improved safety and patient care: Data shows that OBGYN hospitalists reduce the rate of cesarean sections. Their work in simulation training, team communication training, and demonstrating state-of-the-art and evidence-based medicine protocols lead to improved quality and safety.
OBGYN hospitalists are here in the Healthcare system and growing and thriving.
Connect with Dr. Olson on Twitter @DrRobOlson
Dr. Olson is the founder and principal of National OBGYN Hospitalist Consulting Group. Dr. Olson is a leading OBGYN Hospitalist and Entrepreneur who is passionate about continual improvements in safety and patient care, Dr. Olson is the founder and former president of the Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists, currently the largest organization providing support and opportunities for OBGYN Hospitalists in the United States.