Face the Future

Mary Jo Gorman, MD, MBA

We need not be afraid of the future, for the future will be in our own hands.

—Thomas E. Dewey

Your SHM board recently spent some time on the most comprehensive strategic planning that we have undertaken. Our last strategic planning meeting was almost three years ago. It is reassuring to review those minutes and see that we have accomplished a number of things that we set out to do. We have:

  • Enhanced our chapters by making more resources and staff assistance available to them;
  • Expanded our leadership training offerings;
  • Established relationships with other organizations, such as the American Hospital Association, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and many others; and
  • Explored a credential for the hospitalist that distinguishes our work from other practitioners.

Planning to Plan

In these exciting times, however, we decided it was important to stop and take stock to either confirm that we are on the right track or adjust our direction. To prepare for the meeting, we hired an outside facilitator. We invited all board members and our staff from Philadelphia. Our staff has grown from several people to more than 20. They are a diverse group with a tremendous amount of talent. Their perspective and input remain crucial to our success.

We included some of our key committee chairs as well. These individuals have regular contact with other agencies, our members, and their employees. We surveyed our membership and hospitalist leaders to determine their perspective on the dilemmas that they face. We interviewed 13 “futurists” to obtain their opinions about key trends that will affect hospitalists, including:

  • The current environment for hospitalists;
  • The implications of future trends in patient populations;
  • The regulatory and political environment;
  • The competitive forces; and
  • Advancements in science, technology, and pharmaceuticals.
Our members and their leaders seem to feel adequately prepared for clinical decision-making to deliver high quality care, but they see a gap when it comes to how they are equipped to provide leadership in a number of areas.

Bang for the Buck

The SHM board, when surveyed, expressed a strong interest in better understanding SHM’s customer groups, what they value, and what we can offer to them. We conduct many activities and support many projects through our staff, our volunteer leadership, and our members. We need to know if we are spending our resources in a way that optimizes our impact on our members and our field. Each participant spent two to three hours reviewing materials in preparation for the meeting.

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