If you've been to the hospital recently chances are you weren't seen by your primary care physician. Instead you were treated by someone like Dr. Beth Mikkelsen, a hospitalist at Avera Sacred Heart.
"10 years ago it barely existed so it's a very new specialty." Said Dr. Mikkelsen.
In a nutshell, Dr. Mikkelsen is the first line of defense. She's the one responsible for the care of patients as soon as they come through the door.
"Many of us are finding that trying to do both outpatient care which is detailed and intensive in a different way was becoming increasingly difficult and trying to learn and remember all the intensive stuff that you do in the hospital." Said Dr. Mikkelsen.
Dr. Mikkelsen is one of two hospitalists on staff at Avera Sacred Heart. This new position offers plenty of convenience, added safety, and efficiency for both the hospital and patients. Under Dr. Mikkelsen's direction the admitting process has seen quite a speed boost, the same goes for discharging patients.
"Pretty frequently patients are able to go home maybe a couple of hours earlier maybe even a day earlier it means that if patients have needs I'm able to address them a little more quickly than if the nurse on the floor has to call the clinic and then talk to the clinic nurse who then talks to the physician." Said Dr. Mikkelsen.
Since the hospital is Dr. Mikkelsen's "office" she's ready to go at a moments notice. Which helps patients deal with the challenges of living in a rural state.
"I'm able to take patients from surrounding communities, care for them, send them back to there usual physician and they have the advantage of the subspecialty care that can be delivered at this hospital where they might not be able to get at the smaller community hospitals." Said Dr. Mikkelsen.
The hospitalist program is still in it's infancy but in the first few weeks Dr. Mikkelsen has proven the program is the best way to coordinate care for patients. It also helps make sure that when bad things happen, there's a good outcome and wonderful experience from everyone's stay at Avera Sacred Heart.
"I'm hopeful that I'm delivering better and more efficient care to those folks." Said Dr. Mikkelsen.
The term hospitalist was created in 1996 and since then hundreds of hospitals across the country have adopted the concept of hospitalist care as the best way to provide patient care. For more information about the hospitalist program just call 877-AT-AVERA.