When Dr. Marc Boyd became medical director for Methodist Medical Center’s Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) service line, his first goal was to review the treatment processes and procedures for expecting moms who enter the hospital for delivery or for other treatments and evaluations. It was this extensive review which resulted in the formation of the area’s first laborist program for OB/GYN patients.
Through this program, dubbed POGG (Peoria Obstetrical and Gynecological Group), Methodist gives an expecting mother the comforting knowledge that whether she enters the hospital for a normal delivery or for emergency treatment, an OB/GYN physician will be on-site to oversee her care. Prior to this program, the patient would be under the care of a resident while waiting for her own physician to arrive at the hospital. Through the POGG program, an OB/GYN physician is on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide immediate diagnosis and care for any patient with an OB/GYN issue, including emergency room patients. Now, when a patient comes to the Emergency Department with labor symptoms, a POGG physician is right there to make those critical medical decisions. Even patients with false labor pains are never sent home without the involvement of a POGG physician.
“This program has resulted in overall better healthcare for our patients,” said Dr. Boyd. “Hospitals throughout the country are now starting to give these types of programs careful consideration, and I think we’ll see [them] become the norm very soon.”
Other hospitals in the area are starting to initiate hospitalist programs, but as Dr. Boyd points out, “These other programs are covering only emergency situations during specific time frames while making use of residents. The POGG program at Methodist is staffed with board-certified OB/GYN physicians who work 12- or 24-hour shifts based at the hospital.”
According to Dr. Boyd, “We have call rooms right on the labor and delivery unit that allow us to be readily available in a moment’s notice.” Physicians in the POGG program stay in touch with the patient’s own physician to ensure clear communication and transition, and provide community OB/GYN physicians a safety net in the event they are seeing other patients when an emergency occurs.
As Dr. Boyd points out, 25 percent of patients discharged from U.S. hospitals in 2007 were childbearing women and newborns. “Almost one in six pregnant women experience some form of pregnancy complication,” says Boyd. “It just makes good medical sense that we have the program and staff on hand to provide the immediate and ongoing medical care necessary to serve this important segment of the community.”
The results have been dramatic, according to Dr. Boyd. “Women also now have a safety net that was previously unavailable and it’s resulted in patient satisfaction scores of over 90 percent, as well as higher nursing satisfaction. In addition, we’re providing better healthcare for our patients, and outcomes are better as well.” iBi