Special to the E-T

The next time you or a loved one is hospitalized don’t be surprised if your primary care physician doesn’t immediately stop in. Frequently a hospitalist will oversee the inpatient care.

In recent years, use of hospitalists has become more prevalent. According to the Society of Hospital Medicine an estimated 30,000 hospitalists practice in hospitals across the United States. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is proud to offer hospitalists to patients receiving inpatient treatment at the hospital.

The hospitalists’ role is to treat patients while they are in the hospital. Patients benefit from consistent teams offering treatments. Hospitalists see hospitalized patients with on a daily basis. This focused experience can be beneficial in diagnosing and treating patients who are admitted to the hospital with more severe or less common illnesses. In addition, a hospitalist can facilitate close communication among a patient's interdisciplinary health care team.

With Texas Health Stephenville’s electronic health record system hospitalists can easily share patient information seamlessly and securely with the patients’ primary care physician and that physician can access the records during the hospital stay if needed.

Hospitalists also help ease the load for primary care physicians in the community. Because the hospitalists provide care for patients in the hospital, there’s no need for the primary care physician to rush back and forth between the office and patients in the hospital. The primary care physicians may still participate in the patient’s care, but because hospitalists are available in the hospital at all times they are available more quickly to answer questions. Hospitalists also help streamline the discharge process so that patients can get home faster after receiving treatment.

Two full-time hospitalists, Dr. Roberta Vickery and Dr. Aaron Shaw, work at Texas Health Stephenville and care for patients who stay overnight.

Dr. Roberta Vickery recently joined the medical staff at Texas Health Stephenville to serve as a hospitalist. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Hospital De La Concepcion in San German, Puerto Rico. Vickery is fluent in both English and Spanish.

“I am excited to be settling in Stephenville,” Dr. Vickery said. “I have been impressed with the employees at Texas Health Stephenville and other physicians on the medical staff. Everyone has been very welcoming and helpful as I learn my way around Stephenville.”

Vickery joins Dr. Aaron Shaw in covering inpatient care for the hospital. Dr. Shaw has been practicing at Texas Health Stephenville since 2007.

“The hospitalists provide an invaluable service to our patients and physicians,” said Christopher Leu, hospital president. “Drs. Shaw and Vickery bring unique perspectives to the hospital and work well coordinating care with hospital employees and the patients’ primary care physicians.”

For more information on hospitalists, visit www.TexasHealth.org/Stephenville.