TROY — Atul Kutwal, MD, has been appointed program medical director of the Hospitalist program at Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC). Kutwal comes to UVMC from the Springfield Regional Medical Center where he was associate program medical director of the hospitalist program and co-chief hospitalist. He previously was a hospitalist at Good Samaritan Hospital and Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton.
Kutwal graduated from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, India, and completed residency in internal medicine at Wright State University, Dayton. He grew up in New York City and served in the United States Marine Corps with an honorable discharge in 1995. He was a registered nurse prior to attending medical school.
“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Kutwal, who brings over four years of progressive hospitalist experience to Upper Valley Medical Center,” said Becky Rice, president and CEO of UVMC.
“UVMC is more committed than ever before to enhancing the quality of the patient experience and assuring the most positive outcomes possible. Major initiatives have been launched to improve communication with patients and between caregivers,” said Rice. Among those significant advancements was the establishment of a formalized Hospitalist program in 2012 in partnership with Premier Health.
The hospitalist program includes internal medicine physicians, family practice physicians and nurse practitioners who are specially trained to care for inpatients in the hospital setting. They manage the care for patients who are admitted to the hospital – whether through the emergency department or by a primary care doctor – and order necessary diagnostic tests and treatment. They also coordinate with various other specialists as well as with the patient’s primary care physician. A key aspect of the hospitalist role is to communicate findings, treatments and results to all physicians involved.
Among the advantages of the hospitalist program is the availability of these specialists on-site, round-the-clock to monitor patient progress, adjust medications and review laboratory and other test results throughout the day. And they are available to the patient, family members and other health care providers to answer questions throughout the hospital stay.
“Their entire focus is on the hospitalized patient; that is their specialty. They don’t have to rush back to their office to see other patients. It is definitely a more efficient model of care,” said Jeffrey Petry, MD, regional medical director of hospitalist medicine for Premier.
The name “Hospitalist” for physicians who provide care only in a hospital setting was introduced in the mid-1990s in response to growing primary care shortages. Hospitalists are one of the fastest-growing specialties in the United States. In 1997, the number of hospitalists in North America was estimated at 1,000. By 2010, the number had grown to more than 30,000.
Hospitalists are concerned with the patient’s overall health, not just the condition that led to hospitalization. They get the proper specialists involved and work to properly hand off care to the primary care physician or next caregiver when the patient leaves the hospital.
Key Duties of Hospitalists:
• Ongoing communication with the primary care physician
• Daily in-room visits
• Ordering and monitoring necessary tests
• Coordinating care with other medical specialists
• Communication with family members
• Coordination with the family physician and/or other specialists to provide follow-up care once the patient leaves the hospital