A Kingwood resident with kidney and heart failure and many medications had to travel 45 minutes one way to get to her physician.
“She found our Continuity Clinic online,” Dr. Rajeev Raghavan said at Kingwood BizCom at Kingwood High School April 14. “We are a clinic staffed by residents. On her first visit with us, she spent more than an hour with a resident. That is almost unheard of. We got her off several of her medications.”
Raghavan said when the patient returned for a follow-up visit, she said she was so happy that she found a clinic close to her house where she could get help from physicians who are experts in the field and who can spend the time to work with her.
Rajeev Raghavan, MD, is an internist and kidney specialist and associate dean for graduate medical education at HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, training what are traditionally called residents.
A resident, Raghavan explained, is a physician-in-training who has completed medical school. The name resident, Raghavan explained, comes from the fact that these physicians in training were ‘residents of the hospital,’ spending days if not weeks there without leaving.
“Now, we are not allowed to have a resident stay so long, but they still work hard, 80 hours a week, and have a lot of overnight calls. That is what is required to get the skills required to be a surgeon or physician,” he said.
HCA Healthcare is the largest provider of graduate medical education in the United States, he said, operating programs around the country that include 4,000 residents.
The Kingwood program began in 2019, the first program outside of the Medical Center “…because Kingwood really is an incredible place,” Raghavan said.
The Kingwood program has 128 physicians in training to become emergency room physicians, cardiologists, surgeons, and internal medicine physicians. Twenty will graduate this June and seven have decided to stay in the Lake Houston area.
“And this is going to grow. We are partners with the University of Houston College of Medicine,” Raghavan said. “Over the next four years, we will have more than one-hundred medical students rotating through our hospital and clinics.”
Raghavan had one amazing statistic that received a round of applause: “While the percentage of female surgeons nationally is 20 percent, we will have an all-female class of surgeons this year.”
Raghavan also dispelled the stereotype notion about receiving medical care from a resident.
“There are lots of advantages to having a resident or medical student provide care,” he said. “The first is time. They more time to spend with their patients to find out what is going on. Next, they must keep up with the latest treatments, surgical techniques, trials, and that translates to better care for the patient. They know the newest drugs and how to use them.”
Having the residency program at HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood will help health care grow in Lake Houston, Raghavan said, perhaps offering medical trials and creating new pharmaceutical companies, for example. It is good for the economy, too. Residents will need housing, entertainment, restaurants, all the things those new residents need.
To learn more about the Continuity Clinic and HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood’s residency program, kingwoodinternaklmedicinespecialists.com.