OB hospitalists add an extra layer of safety for emergency deliveries and complications before or after childbirth.
OB hospitalists are physicians whose primary role is to care for pregnant women while they’re in the hospital and their obstetrician isn’t available.
“OB hospitalists are an important part of the care team,” said Jennifer C. Evans, M.D., MPH, system vice president, women’s and pediatric services, Norton Healthcare. “They are there to assist mothers who do not have an obstetrician and who many times have not received proper prenatal care.
“While OB hospitalists do not take the place of a patient’s regular OB/GYN care, they are on-site 24 hours a day for immediate triage and can perform deliveries if necessary.”
An OB hospitalist isn’t just for deliveries.
“We are there to help with any issues that may arise as well as address emergencies” said Keehn Hosier, M.D., OB hospitalist at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. “This includes anything from elevated blood pressure to more serious issues that could need immediate surgery.
“Thankfully, the serious issues don’t occur frequently, but we’re there to add that extra layer of safety for new mothers.”
OB hospitalists have been a part of Norton Women’s Care since 2013. Norton Hospital in downtown Louisville and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital in St. Matthews deliver about 8,000 babies per year.
Having OB hospitalists is a growing trend around the country as hospitals look for ways to enhance care and safety for patients. The term “hospitalist” was first used in 1996 and referred to physicians who took care of people in the hospital. There are now many different hospitalist specialties, including pediatrics, neurology, cardiology and obstetrics.
According to OB Hospitalist Group, there are 31 percent fewer perinatal safety events at hospitals that have an OB hospitalist. A 2013 study even showed that having OB hospitalists led to a 27 percent reduction in cesarean deliveries.
“Our goal is to provide the resources a woman may need to have a positive experience with her pregnancy,” Dr. Evans said. “Hospitalists help us do that.”