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Prioritizing Patient Safety in OB/GYN Care

By Khadeja Haye, MD, MBA, FACOG, National Medical Director, Acute Hospitalist Medicine, OB/GYN Hospitalist


Patient safety is a combination of many factors in healthcare. At its core, it hinges on reducing potential harm to patients. While patient safety is vital in every medical specialty field, it is critical in obstetrics and gynecology. OB/GYN Hospitalists have a unique position and as a result, stand at the precipice of patient safety. Because of this, we can drive conversations around patient safety and support hospital efforts to improve safety and mitigate risk.


Why is Patient Safety Critical in OB/GYN Care?

In our field, minutes matter. From a high-risk pregnancy to maternal bleeding, ectopic pregnancy and more, the time between presentation, assessment and treatment matters. More than this, in obstetrics, we are usually caring for two patients, which means we must heighten our sense of safety.

While many of our patients are young and healthy, many also have co-existing risk factors that may create emergency scenarios, such as hypertensive pregnancies. The patient populations we see as Hospitalists may also overlap largely with under-served patients, who do not have access to routine healthcare. OB/GYN Hospitalist services provide care to a patient population that may not otherwise have access to it. All these factors mean that safety must be a priority in the OB/GYN space.


How Does an OB/GYN Hospitalist Model Promote Patient Safety?

Patient safety is our number one concern. The OB/GYN Hospitalist model alleviates some risks to patients by allowing 24/7 coverage with clinicians in the hospital, reducing the possibility of poor patient outcomes. Instead of traditional call coverage, this model expedites patient care instead of having clinicians respond to calls from home, which can cause delays in vital windows for care.

As an OB/GYN Hospitalist, part of our role is to partner with other departments and coordinate. With round-the-clock physician consult availability, hospitals can feel confident in the level of care OB/GYN patients receive. For example, Emergency Department clinicians benefit from availability of immediate consults with an OB/GYN physician. We are able to quickly mobilize resources and aid the patient promptly, instead of delaying care and forcing patients to endure a wait for an office visit or response from an on-call clinician. This collaboration is critical, and it improves throughput and hospital efficiency. The additional layer of safety afforded also improves care, allowing clinicians to focus on patients.


What Sets TeamHealth Apart?

At TeamHealth, communication is key. The crux of our program is the ability to communicate well with all clinicians across the spectrum of care – nursing, anesthesia, emergency medicine and residents – to address patient safety. Partnering with other departments, our OB/GYN Hospitalists ensure a continuum of care that impacts safety and outcomes.

To help achieve effective communication, TeamHealth values and prioritizes education and encourages a culture of safety. Our physician-led leadership offers robust resources to implement ongoing education and training, which have huge impacts on patient safety and allows our clinicians to stay current on leading-edge medical treatment. For example, we have a robust annual drill simulation program. All clinicians are required to participate to align care standards and guarantee clinical understanding of common conditions and emergent scenarios. These efforts help us ensure we are always placing patient safety first, allowing us to deliver timely, effective healthcare.


About TeamHealth’s OB/GYN Hospitalist Program

TeamHealth’s national network of over 16,000 clinicians provides a firm foundation for our OB/GYN Hospitalist program. As part of this world-class network, our OB/GYN Hospitalists have support from colleagues across the country to shape best practices in patient care and safety.

Learn more about our OB/GYN Hospitalist program.