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2 Minutes with...Meeta Sabnis M.D.
The term "hospitalist" was coined only a decade ago, but is now the fastest growing specialty in the history of U.S. medicine, with more than 15,000 hospitalists nationwide. Meeta Sabnis, M.D., became the first hospitalist in Cedars-Sinai's new, dedicated Hospitalist service in February 2006, joining the Inpatient Specialty Program under the direction of Brad Rosen, M.D. Before starting her evening shift, she spent a few minutes with us to discuss the program.

What is your professional background?

I completed my residency in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai in July 2005 and joined the staff as a hospitalist in February 2006. There are five of us in the Inpatient Specialty Program (ISP) now. My colleagues are Dr. Edward Nepomuceno, Dr. Jae Lee, Dr. Ronald Kindig and Dr. Rosen, who is the program director.

Why did you decide to become a hospitalist?

There are so many reasons. I like the fact that no day is ever the same. I get to see interesting cases that have a higher acuity and are more intense than if I were working in private practice. I also enjoy being able to build relationships with patients and their families because I'm here the whole time. And because I get to work with every unit and every sub-specialist in the medical center, I'm able to learn a little bit about what they do, and that's exciting. Finally, it allows me to interact with a lot of different people on staff, including many nurses. It's a very collegial working environment.

How has the ISP Hospitalist program evolved at Cedars-Sinai?

This is the first inpatient program that doesn't involve residents. It supports private physicians who want hospitalists to serve as inpatient partners for their patients and help manage their care until they are discharged.

The program was launched on March 1, 2006. We initially provided service to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group for its Medicare and fee-for-service private patients. On November 1, we took over the HMO contracts for both the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group and Cedars-Sinai Health Associates. In addition, any private physician can request a hospitalist by calling the Inpatient Specialty Program office, and we have seen a number of private physicians starting to use our service because of the benefits such a relationship provides to all parties.

What has been the physician response to the program?

The program is starting to operate seamlessly now, and the overall physician response has been overwhelmingly positive. We conduct regular surveys to determine physician and patient satisfaction, and the results have been very encouraging from both sides. We communicate with the primary physician each day to give them a status update regarding their patient, and they really appreciate that.

I think most physicians also value the fact that we provide 24/7 service so they can admit their patients at any time of the day or night and know that there is always someone here, readily available to assist them. In addition, having hospitalists dedicated to managing the care of their hospitalized patients allows primary physicians to focus their energy on larger issues, rather than having to spend time on mundane tasks like ordering Tylenol, for example. We also make it so they can spend more time in their office or home with their families, all the while knowing that their patients are getting fulltime attention by a dedicated team.

Patients and family members are happy to know they always have someone in-house to call on -- even in the middle of the night -- to address questions and respond promptly to clinical issues.

For more information about the Inpatient Specialty Program, please call their office at (310) 423-5252 or e-mail Dr. Brad Rosen atRosenB@cshs.org.