Dr. Kevin Sowti MD, MBA, SFHM considers himself a Texan, has lived on almost every continent on the globe, and speaks 3 different languages. He now calls West Chester home.
“I’ve always been an outsider in my life,” said Dr. Sowti. “I’m an immigrant, and I’ve traveled the world. I made my way to Texas as soon as I could and eventually settled down in Pennsylvania. The older I get, I believe that helping everyone, breaking down barriers in care and reducing human suffering is what I want to do to change the world.”
Dr. Sowti has been doing just that at Chester County Hospital since the end of 2007, though it’s not where his journey started.
Prior to joining the Chester County Hospital team, Dr. Sowti lived in Iran, Mexico, Uganda, Italy, and Botswana — to name a few. It was only after completing his residency at St. Mary’s Hospital in Connecticut, where he met his wife, that they settled in Pennsylvania.
In his almost 15 years at Chester County Hospital, Dr. Sowti has worn quite a few hats. “I love to learn new things and worked nights as a house doc when we didn’t even have a hospitalist program,” he said, “I’ve worked in primary care settings, nursing homes — I’ve even had a stint in occupational health.”
Dr. Sowti also runs the hospitalists’ group and is the section chief of hospital medicine. Above all, he works day-in and day-out as a hospitalist, doing his part to change the world.
As a hospitalist, Dr. Sowti provides care to patients who are hospitalized. If you’re not familiar with the term “hospitalist”, that’s because it’s a relatively new specialty.
The actual word “hospitalist” only came into use in 1996. While this might feel like a long time ago, compare it to the word “doctor,” which we’ve been using since the 14th Century.
A hospitalist is a physician who takes care of patients in the hospital. When a patient is admitted to Chester County Hospital and doesn’t have a primary care physician that does rounds in the hospital, he/she will be assigned a hospitalist as part of their care plan. The hospitalists work as a team with their advanced practitioners, visiting patients every day to provide coordinated care, answer questions, offer updates, and address any concerns.
Because hospitalists are relatively new — with approximately 44,000 practicing in the US — Dr. Sowti points out that not many people really know what it is.
To him, the role of a hospitalist is the “perfect marriage between science and the humanities”. In the sciences, you must understand medicine. But in the humanities, you must understand the whole person.
“This is a young specialty,” he said, meaning that it’s constantly evolving and developing. “What attracted me to this was that — since its inception — hospital medicine has been focused on population health and diversity. The opportunity to improve efficiencies and make process improvements was a big draw.”
Hospitalists are positioned well to help reduce health costs while improving value for other providers and the health system.
“My amazing hospitalist partners and I serve our patients as family, along with our primary care and specialist colleagues,” he said.
In the past 2 years, a lot might have changed in your own job. You may be going into the office less or working entirely remotely. Your workspace might be your kitchen table, and your coworkers might be your children or your pets.
As you might expect, a day in the life of a hospitalist has also changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s always a tough gig,” said Dr. Sowti about being a hospitalist, given that they take care of patients when they are at their most vulnerable and sick, “but especially in the last two years, it’s been very busy for all of the hospitalists across America.”
Pandemic or not, Dr. Sowti’s usual day as a hospitalist is all about his unit and his team. Hospitalists at Chester County Hospital are responsible for a specific unit and work as a part of a team with other advanced practice providers (APPs) like nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
“It’s been tough, but all of the hospitalists across the country, especially at Chester County Hospital have done an amazing job and are the unsung heroes of the pandemic, taking the brunt of the punch from COVID,” said Dr. Sowti.
When asked about the best part of his job, Dr. Sowti’s answer is immediate: The people.
As a hospitalist, much of his work is connecting with people — his team, his patients, and the doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital. He said, “I’ve made it my job to know everybody.”
Hospitalists will see patients multiple times to coordinate and move their care forward. This allows hospitalists to really build a connection with their patients, and it is this relationship-building that is at the core of Dr. Sowti’s personal philosophy of care.
“We treat everyone as if they are family,” said Dr. Sowti.