Sound Physicians Help Transform Hospitalist Culture in Kansas

By Sarah Gooding
Friday, May 4, 2018

Throughout the past 10 years, the hospitalist field has emerged as its own specialty in the Kansas medical market, drawing physicians who enjoy the care of patients with acute illness at a fast pace.

Chady Sarraf, MD, chief hospitalist, and Deanna Ternes, DO, hospitalist, are at the helm of many of the initiatives and innovations that have helped Sound Physicians grow and thrive in the Wichita market.

Sound Physicians, one of the nation’s leading hospitalist practices, provides hospitals with physicians who are well trained to apply the highest standard of care for their patients. They also partner closely with primary care physicians, specialists and hospital staff to promote quality and provide the best care to patients during their hospital stays.

“We are inpatient physicians who specialize in illnesses and diseases that require hospital care,” says Chady Sarraf, MD, chief hospitalist for Sound Physicians in Wichita.

The practice has grown and thrived in this evolving environment, with its physicians now serving a number of hospitals in Kansas, including Via Christi St. Francis and St. Teresa in Wichita.

Dr. Sarraf says that traditional models of care were built around primary care physicians doing admissions, then visiting their hospitalized patients around clinic hours. The term “hospitalist” was first coined in a 1996 New England Journal of Medicine article by Robert Watcher, MD.

“The thought was, ‘Why don’t we create a position where the doctor only works in the hospital?’” Dr. Sarraf says, adding that this idea has transformed the culture for internal and family medicine physicians. “Hospitalists have become specialists, and we are at the point now where doctors have to make the choice between inpatient and outpatient at the beginning of their career.”

The changes have required navigation, both in the hospital setting as physicians explain their role to patients and families or caregivers, and in the wider medical community.

“Hospitalists have to gain trust in the first few minutes of an encounter,” Dr. Sarraf says. “Usually when we meet, patients are very sick and families are stressed out. I always introduce myself as an extender to their primary care physicians, and I always try to stay in contact with their outpatient doctors.”

Derek Young, MD, takes a call between visiting patients at Via Christi St. Francis at Wichita. Hospitalists with Sound Physicians are committed to high-quality care and work to maximize every moment of their shifts at the hospital.

Dr. Sarraf says that whether the referring physician is a primary care provider or specialist, Sound Physicians serves as a resource and can recommend avenues of care based on each patient’s situation or needs.

Additionally, the Wichita team has been active in reaching out to physicians in less-populated areas around the state and to specialists in different disciplines in the Wichita community. The creation of “champions” with specialized care within its practice has allowed Sound Physicians to master the care of its patients.

The ability to quickly respond to needs and changes has won Sound Physicians respect throughout the hospital and medical community.

“The entire care team appreciates that we are available and addressing patient status changes in real time,” Dr. Sarraf says. “I believe we have changed the culture of inpatient medical care, especially for patients and their families.”