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American Family Children's Hospital

Pediatric Hospitalists Provide Expert Care for Kids

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Hospital Medicine

When a child is admitted to American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, one of the first faces that a family may see is that of a pediatric hospitalist.


"As hospitalists, we are experts in caring for children who are admitted to our hospital," says Jonathan Fliegel, MD, division director of the newly expanded Pediatric Hospitalist team that also includes Shannon Dean, MD, and Sabrina Wagner, MD. "Many of the patients we care for are otherwise healthy children who need to be hospitalized for issues such as asthma, skin infections, dehydration, bronchiolitis or other similar diagnoses."


"At the same time," Fliegel says, "we also care for patients with very complex needs, and often coordinate multiple consultants and multidisciplinary care teams for patients. For these children, during the hospitalization and at the time of discharge, we help families navigate the hospital system. In addition, we provide consultations for some of the patients on surgical or pediatric subspecialty services."


Fliegel also says that family members greatly appreciate the "family-centered rounds" that include parents in each day's plan for treatment.


"In the past, physicians would talk amongst themselves and then announce to the family what the plan was for their child. Today, the parents, and the patient when appropriate, are included in the discussion with the physicians and nurses and therefore are part of the decision-making process before the plan is even finalized."


From a referring physician's perspective, Fliegel says, hospitalists can be especially helpful for several reasons:

  • A commitment to close two-way communication between the referring physician and the pediatric hospitalist about mutual patients
  • A single point of contact, saving the referring physician from figuring out whom to call
  • 24/7 availability - at least one pediatric hospitalist is physically present every day and is reachable on call at night

Betsy Peterson, MD, a pediatrician with Community Pediatrics in Beaver Dam, says she finds the pediatric hospitalists at American Family Children's Hospital easy to work with.


"They have been very helpful when we need to send over a child who needs the level of complex care not available at a community hospital," says Dr. Peterson. "They also make our lives easier by having one person in Madison who keeps us in the loop."