Dr. Simon has been involved with OB hospitalist medicine since 2009. Over the past 15 years, he’s seen changes in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) career paths. Previously, individuals typically pursued fellowship training or the “general” OB/GYN track, involving traditional outpatient, inpatient and surgery practice. There were fewer opportunities to become an OB hospitalist.
Over the years, the role of an OB hospitalist within the hospital has changed. Initially, OB hospitalists were commonly relied on for emergency deliveries and when a patient did not have a physician or midwife at the facility where they were giving birth.
Today things are different. “I think what’s happened over the years is a recognition that physicians and midwives who are OB hospitalists, who stay in the hospital and dedicate their clinical career to working in these institutions, become very adept at managing the care of a patient in that setting,” said Dr. Simon.
Dr. Simon describes the role of an OB hospitalist as somewhat of an “air traffic controller” role, tasked with helping to manage the quality and efficiency of the entire unit. They also need to be a team player, coordinating care with nursing staff, private physicians, anesthesia professionals, and other departments within the hospital. As such, good communication skills are essential.
Today’s OB hospitalists are also more actively engaged within the labor and delivery, postpartum, and antepartum units. “The OB hospitalist has a clear understanding and situational awareness of what’s happening with multiple patients, even if they aren’t the one who is going to be doing the delivery itself,” adds Dr. Simon.
Looking toward the future
Dr. Simon believes that in the future, more facilities will have physician and midwife teams dedicated to caring for obstetrical patients in the hospital. “What I see happening is that when a patient comes to the hospital for an obstetrical reason, it will be common for the OB hospitalist to be officially recognized as part of that patient’s care team. It’s not an effort to remove the primary prenatal care provider the patient may have been seeing. It should be seen as an adjunct. OB hospitalists are part of the care team. They have the goal of wanting every patient who presents to an obstetrical unit to have the best possible outcomes.”
Dr. Simon also sees continued growing acceptance from the patient perspective. Patients want optimal outcomes, and they understand the OB hospitalist is there to contribute to those outcomes. They also appreciate the time and energy that goes into practicing medicine as a physician or midwife and understand one single person can’t be available 24/7.
“It’s not uncommon for patients to recognize that, ‘Hey, having someone different as part of my care team is okay. I just want to know they’re compassionate. They care about me, and they’re going to deliver quality care.’ As long as we’re meeting those needs, and working towards delivering the best possible outcome, patients are very accepting,” shares Dr. Simon.
Expanding the healthcare scope
The medical field as a whole has seen waves of evolution. “We should be changing, we should be evolving, and we should always be striving to get better so we can deliver on our promise to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients,” said Dr. Simon.