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CEO Column

Alliston/July 9, 2013 – I often receive letters, emails and phone calls from people who are passionate about their experiences at Stevenson. Some patients raise concerns, causing us to look at how we performed and others express their appreciation to staff, physicians and volunteers.

Paul Murray was so impressed with the care his wife received during a recent stay that he took the time to write a letter thanking one of our hospitalists, Dr. Amber Bocknek.

“You immediately assessed the problem as a potential lack of oxygen in the blood stream,” Paul wrote. “You then flew into action. You were very forthright and professional with your information and I thank you.” When Carolyn arrived by ambulance at Stevenson’s emergency room one evening, she was experiencing severe breathing difficulties. She was assessed by the ER physician and was admitted to hospital, under the care of Dr. Bocknek.

“We were very happy with how efficiently things ran,” Paul said in a follow-up phone call. “Thanks to Dr. Bocknek’s quick diagnosis and action, my wife is getting back to normal. The care from Dr. Bocknek was top notch,” Paul explained. Carolyn’s condition required a transfer to MacKenzie Health Centre where she remained in the ICU for five days. She is now recovering well at home in Alliston.

The term “hospitalist” is relatively new in Ontario, but the model of care has grown rapidly, resulting in shortened lengths of stay, reduced costs and enhanced patient safety. Hospitalists take full responsibility for the care of patients who are admitted, assuming the role of “most responsible physician” (MRP) during the patient’s stay. The MRP focuses on the patient's primary health issue during their stay, eliminating the need for a traditional "on call" physician and adding value by being more available to inpatients, having more hospital experience and expertise and an increased commitment to hospital quality improvement.

Every admitted patient, regardless of whether or not they have a family doctor and who their doctor is, will be cared for by the hospitalist. These physicians devote all of their time to management of hospitalized patients, allowing them to be more efficient and focused on resource utilization, length of stay, quality of care and patient safety. Family doctors in the community are encouraged to visit their hospitalized patients and to support the hospitalist with information.

We have experienced tremendous success since the model was introduced at Stevenson in 2009 and we are excited to expand to a 3-physician model. Before the hospitalist program was introduced here, we were experiencing a severe shortage of physicians to cover the work load of the inpatient floor, particularly on the weekends. A recent review highlighted a decreased length of stay of admitted patients, leading to earlier discharges, decreased admit-to-bed time and increases in Pay for Results funding from the province.

I believe that this expanded hospitalist model will allow for more flexibility and a more sustainable future for Stevenson. It is a model for change that sets Stevenson apart as we strive to be the best small community hospital in Ontario.

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Annette Jones, President and CEO