Pediatric Hospitalists Stress Two-Way Communication

Pediatric Pathways

Pediatric Hospitalists Stress Two-Way Communication

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Pediatric Hospital Medicine

Pediatric hospitalist Mary L. Ehlenbach, MDCaregiver. Communicator. Coordinator.

This is the essence of the role of a pediatric hospitalist at UW Health’s American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison.

“We care for a patient population with an incredible range of complexity, from children with common, straightforward diagnoses to others with very complex medical needs,” says Jon Fliegel, MD, head of the UW Health pediatric hospitalist team. “When a child is hospitalized without a definitive diagnosis, our hospitalists frequently take the lead in caring for that patient. Be it something common such as influenza or a complicated case incorporating multiple specialties, we serve as the ‘hub of the wheel’ by coordinating the child’s care between the primary care physician the pediatric specialists and ancillary services at the children’s hospital.”

With more children being admitted from longer distances for complex medical problems, it is usually impossible for the child’s primary care physician to be in Madison directing the child’s care. Accordingly, timely, consistent and informative communication between the pediatric hospitalist and the child’s primary care physician is paramount to ensure the best possible care.

Julie Waraksa, MD, a Dean Clinic pediatrician in Janesville who regularly refers patients to American Family Children’s Hospital, says her patients and their families are very pleased with the care they receive from UW’s pediatric hospitalists.

“It’s a wonderful program,” she says. “I always get a phone call when one of my patients is being discharged in Madison, and the hospitalists always get right back to me when I have a question.”