Pediatric Hospitalists

Stony Brook Medicine

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    Overview Pediatric hospitalists focus exclusively on taking care of children during their hospital stay. This specialization, which is relatively new, benefits kids and their families in several ways. At Stony Brook Children's, our hospitalists offer extensive clinical experience and expertise in the care and management of hospitalized children; a commitment to patient- and family-centered care; leadership in quality improvement in the hospital setting; and all-day availability to patients and families. 

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, emerging data show that pediatric hospitalist programs, like their counterparts for adults, provide high-quality medical outcomes, decreased length of stay, and lower costs—while also maintaining patient and referring physician satisfaction.

    Patients are referred to the hospitalists' care by Stony Brook primary care physicians, private pediatricians within the community, and other pediatric subspecialists. The hospitalists coordinate communication among physicians during the child's stay at Stony Brook Children's and provide referring physicians with all the information they need to ensure continuity of care upon discharge.

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    CONTACT US To reach the hospitalist program, call (631) 444-2730.

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    Our Team Stony Brook Children's pediatric hospitalist program has been in place since 2005. Our hospitalists function as attending pediatricians and faculty on 11 North and in the Newborn Nursery. The clinical staff includes board-certified pediatricians plus a general pediatrics fellow.

    Carolyn Milana, MD – Division Chief
    Josette Bianchi-Hayes, MD
    Rachel Boykan, MD
    Maribeth Chitkara, MD
    Margaret Connolly, MD
    Traci Downs, MD
    Lisa Wilks-Gallo, MD


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    Services Stony Brook's pediatric hospitalists provide care for children from infancy through adolescence with diagnoses ranging from gastroenteritis to meningitis to respiratory illnesses. The hospitalists also treat patients whose illness is complicated by an underlying medical condition such as a previous brain injury or genetic disorder.

    Their clinical interests include complex chronic care, inpatient hospital medicine, inpatient newborn care, and medically complex children. They also perform newborn circumcisions.

    Delivering patient- and family-centered care is a large part of what hospitalists do. It begins with accessibility. Because hospitalists spend their work days at the hospital, patients and families see them often and can readily reach them if a question arises. Hospitalists also serve an important function as care coordinators. Not only do they conduct meetings with the families, but they also organize clinical and other services, including Child Life and Social Work, to address the child's individual needs.

    Family-centered rounding is another way Stony Brook hospitalists put patients and families first. At academic medical centers like Stony Brook Children's, rounding is conducted by the attending physician/faculty member and registered nurses, who visits each patient on the floor, checks their status, and develops the day's care plan, together with the medical residents, interns and students who are on pediatric rotation. Family-centered rounding adds the child's parents to this equation. Families are invited to participate in the group discussion of their child, ask questions, and get a behind-the-scenes view of how decisions are made about their child's care. This open, innovative approach promotes better communication and improves patient and family satisfaction.

    Another initiative the hospitalists have introduced is a daily goal sheet for each patient. Outlining expectations for the child's care and progress, the goal sheet is a communication device that keeps everyone on the same page—including caregivers, clinicians and family members—all of whom read and sign it daily.

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    Patient Resources Our goal is to make your child feel comfortable and cared for during hospitalization. Our Child Life Program can help reduce the stress that pediatric patients and their families may experience when faced with illness, medical procedures, and unfamiliar surroundings. The Child Life Program offers an opportunity for children to engage in everyday childhood activities to help minimize anxiety. The program provides therapeutic, educational, and recreational activities to meet the unique emotional and developmental needs of children during their hospital stays. For more information, click here.

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    Research and Education In addition to overseeing patient care, our hospitalists teach medical residents, interns, and students in conjunction with the Stony Brook School of Medicine. The hospitalist team also leads patient-centered care and quality improvement initiatives on behalf of the medical center, and conducts other types of research.

    • Select publications by Dr. Milana include articles on Kawasaki disease, dysuria, childhood growth issues and erythema multiforme, Stevens Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.
    • Dr. Chitkara's research interests include an ongoing project: Lumbar Punctures Performed by Pediatric Residents: Implementation and Evaluation of a Teaching Curriculum and Training Program.
    • Dr. Boykan's research interests include the ongoing project: GUIDES - A template to educate and enhance the assessment of risk factors for childhood injury, an IRB- approved 6-month pilot study with Leslie Quinn, MD, Stony Brook University Hospital Department of Pediatrics. She recently had a workshop presentation and a poster accepted on teaching evidence-based medicine to our pediatric residents.


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    Advances and Recognitions Hospitalists at Stony Brook also lead quality improvement initiatives and evaluate and develop programs to improve quality indices and trends in patient care outcomes. Stony Brook University Medical Center has an exceptionally strong quality management program that has an excellent infrastructure and systems for monitoring and improving patient care quality outcomes.

    Stony Brook Children's hospitalists spearhead quality improvement programs such as the Asthma Action Plan they developed in 2009. The hospitalist team defined the appropriate path of care for asthma patients from Emergency Department admission to discharge from Stony Brook Children's to follow up at home. By identifying optimal care step by step and monitoring compliance, the hospitalists have tracked reductions in length of stay for asthma patients and ultimately hope to see a decrease in readmissions.

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    Definitions Attending physician - The attending physician is the doctor who has main responsibility for a patient at a particular time (like hospitalization) or with regard to a particular therapy or treatment.

    Intern - Internship involves a year of training in a hospital following graduation from medical school, and is a precursor to residency.

    Medical resident - A physician who has finished medical school and internship goes on to receive training in a specialized area. Board certification in all medical and surgical specialties requires successful completion of a residency program.

    Newborn Circumcision - This surgery removes the foreskin or loose tissue covering the penis. It may be performed for religious, cultural or health reasons.

    Rounding - Rounding is the act of visiting patients in a hospital setting. In medical education, rounding provides an opportunity to sharpen clinical reasoning through the discussion of the patient's case with an experienced physician/faculty member.

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