National Hospital Week is an opportunity to highlight our nation’s hospitals, health systems, and health care workers, along with recognizing the innovative ways they connect and support their communities. Celebrated the week of May 8 – 14, this year’s theme is “We Are Health Care.”
Health care is everywhere these days. Patients can see a doctor via their computer or smartphone, speak with a specialist over the phone, and consult a pharmacist using text. But while health care continues to adjust and meet patients where they are, hospitals remain at the heart in many ways.
Hospitals, the Heart of Health Care
Hospitals are unique to the health care system. They treat patients through emergency, inpatient, and intensive care, surgeries, and other hospital specialty services. There is an entire system dedicated to getting patients the care they need when they are at their sickest.
Think about the emergency services a hospital provides. Emergency departments (ED) are our nation’s safety net. They are 24/7/365 when patients can’t get to their doctor. They treat anyone who is hurt, sick, or injured, and act as the front door to the hospital for those who need in-patient treatment or intensive care.
EDs are staffed by clinicians, nurses, and others who specialize in putting patients and their family’s minds at ease, and getting patients the needed care quickly, no matter the time of day.
Dedicated hospitalists watch over patients who need in-hospital care. They are on-site to see patients morning and night, reassuring families, answering questions, and getting their patients on the road to recovery. They collaborate and coordinate with the ED and ICU to keep treatment plans on track.
The intensive care unit serves the sickest patients, those with a life-threatening disease or injury. The highly-skilled clinicians and nurses who staff ICUs dedicate themselves to keeping a close watch on patients, working around the clock to bring them back from the brink.
Hospitals, the Heart of Medical Education
The role of hospitals in medical education has become increasingly important. Modern medical schools can barely be imagined without their link to hospitals. In fact, most of the largest teaching hospitals are affiliated with medical schools.
Through academic medical centers, residency programs, and everyday learning opportunities, hospitals offer physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants an immersive educational environment that cannot be replicated in other settings.
Hospitals, the Heart of Their Communities
Hospitals are not only the heart of health care but also the communities they serve. They are often a major employer, adding social and economic vitality to small towns, cities, and even entire regions.
Their impact is felt most strongly in low-income areas. While a hospital or health system is among the top 10 private employers in each of the 20 largest U.S. cities, in high-poverty communities, they are almost always among the top five. About one in fifteen of the largest hospitals in the U.S. are in inner cities, where they spend more than $130 billion each year.
Across the country, in areas large and small, hospitals work to deliver quality care and improve patient experience and population health while reducing the cost of care. Without a hospital’s influence, a community will suffer both health-wise and economically.
We Are Health Care
Let’s focus on the hospital staff and the significant role each plays in providing excellent patient care and keeping the hospital running.
- Clinicians (i.e., doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners) provide care and develop treatment plans.
- Nurses enable care and are there to listen, comfort, and work alongside clinicians to assist in care coordination.
- Staff stands in the wings to keep things working smoothly behind the scenes, whether technicians running lab tests, administrative staff managing EHR or billing, or supervisory staff overseeing building maintenance.
Regardless of their respective roles, everyone shares a single mission: to provide patients with the best care possible and promote healing efficiently and cost-effectively.
Together, We Heal
Today’s health care system is vast and complex, comprised of hospitals, health systems, primary and urgent care clinics, pharmacies, billing, and more. Despite that, the hospital is at the heart, giving vital, specialized care to the sickest patients when they need it most.
During National Hospital Week, we appreciate hospitals for the epicenters they are and the care they provide to their patients and communities.
SCP Health is proud to work with more than 400 hospitals in 31 states to empower clinicians to deliver exceptional care across the entire continuum. As our motto says: “Together, we heal.”