Partnership brings unprecedented clarity to 2010 HM report
by Brendon Shank
As HM continues to grow, the need for clear and accurate data about the specialty will only become more intense. Hospitalists and HM group leaders use survey information to better understand how they compare to other practices across the country, in terms of size and practice characteristics, as well as compensation and productivity.
Increasingly, healthcare executives are turning to survey data—either independently or via their hospitalist group leaders—to get a grasp on the best practices in the industry.
That’s why SHM teamed up with the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), the industry leader for professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices, to research and develop the State of Hospital Medicine: 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data.
Previously, SHM created and fielded a biannual survey, then analyzed the results independently.
“Our partnership with MGMA expands our survey population, delivers more information, and brings MGMA’s 90 years of industry credibility in the medical practice management field,” says Leslie A. Flores, MHA, SHM senior advisor for practice management. “The 2010 survey gives hospitalists and hospital administrators an unprecedented snapshot of the state of hospital medicine.”
The 2010 report will be available this month in the “Practice Resources” section of the SHM website (www.hospitalmedicine.org).
The print version will be available to SHM members for $125; for $175, members receive both the print version and the report on CD-ROM.
“This is a first-ever opportunity for hospitalists, group leaders, and healthcare executives to get the clearest picture possible of a rapidly changing industry,” Flores says. TH
Brendon Shank is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.
A long with nearly 20 other organizations, SHM has adopted the Code for Industry Relations (http://cmss.org/) established by the Council on Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS). In an era of digital communication, SHM has created a Web area (www.hospital medicine.org/industry) to continuously update its policies toward industry, display its current partnerships, and disclose the potential conflicts of interest of its board or directors, editors, and CEO.
The message from SHM leadership: SHM is committed to being a leader in an era of transparency and disclosure.
Transparency serves an important role for medical specialty societies, says Norman B. Kahn Jr., MD, executive vice president and CEO of CMSS. The code developed by CMSS and adopted by SHM “assures in interactions with industry that the patients’ needs come first,” Dr. Kahn says. “The bottom line is that this is all about protecting the independence of societies from industry without abrogating the relationship.”
From its early days, SHM has been aware of the need to balance the responsibilities of speaking for HM and the need to disclose any potential conflicts of interests. In 2000, SHM developed its Principles of Organizational Relationships (www.hospitalmedicine.org/OrgRelationships), which have guided the society’s efforts.
The principles call for a clear, bright line that is a barrier between the support of a partner and SHM’s control of content. Among other activities, SHM has applied those principles to meetings and educational initiatives, quality-improvement (QI) projects, and publications.
The principles also were the foundation for the tough conflict-of-interest policies (www.hospital medicine.org/interestpolicies) the board approved in 2005.
Over the last decade, as HM has grown, national hospitalist leaders have become the experts on a wide range of topics and are asked to speak, write, or advise government agencies, foundations, and industry.
As SHM has developed its resources to help hospitalists improve glycemic control, reduce unnecessary DVTs and PEs, and improve the transitions of care, SHM has engaged in partnerships with government agencies, foundations, and industry as well.
“SHM’s leadership recognizes that it has a fiduciary responsibility to its members—a responsibility to provide expert direction, and necessary resources, to enable the hospitalist to ensure the best possible care of his or her patients, and to advance the quality of the hospital system,” says SHM President Jeff Wiese, MD, SFHM. “But SHM cannot do this alone, and when external partnerships are established, it is the organization’s responsibility to enter into these partnerships judiciously, and to be fully transparent to the membership with respect to the arrangements of these partnerships.
“We are confident that no other organization has a more robust disclosure policy than SHM.”
SHM is accepting nominations for its board election; new members will take office in May at HM11 in Dallas.
The nomination deadline is Oct. 31. Online ballots will be available to all SHM members in late 2010. The results of the election will be announced online in early 2011.
Nominees must be SHM members in good standing. SHM members may nominate themselves or be nominated by another SHM member. Nominations must include a letter of nomination, a one-page CV, and a recent photo.
The nomination committee considers candidates based on length of SHM membership, activity as a hospitalist and SHM member, the prominence of the candidate within the specialty, and a number of other factors.
Board members serve a three-year term and normally serve on one or more committees.
“Participating in SHM’s leadership is one of the best ways to help guide the future of hospital medicine,” says Larry Wellikson, MD, SFHM, CEO of SHM. “That begins by submitting a board nomination to SHM this year.”
The Chicago chapter met May 19 at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Twenty-five hospitalists from the Chicago area, including hospitalists at Loyola Hospital, Lutheran General Hospital, Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Trinity Hospital, Silver Cross, and Evanston Hospital, as well as hospitalist groups like Cogent and Vista, attended the meeting.
Dr. Robin Ross of Season Hospice and Palliative Care, which sponsored the event, presented clinical pearls for end-of-life care for the busy hospitalist. The meeting also featured a town-hall discussion, with topics relevant to everyday hospitalist practice—coding, consultations, and the use of observation units. Notification of chapter elections were summated to all chapter members in July and August.
Thirty hospitalists representing six HM programs attended the Harrisburg/South Central Pennsylvania chapter of SHM June 9 at Passage to India in Harrisburg.
Eric Kupersmith, MD, SFHM, division head of the hospitalist program at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J., led an open discussion regarding “Transition of Care and the Hospitalist’s Role.” Chapter members had the opportunity to discuss how each individual program actively seeks to decrease readmission rates. Discharge-planning specifics generated group discussion, and a handful of hospitalists offered testimonials about what is working in their practices.
The meeting was sponsored by Merck.
When Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older Adults through Safer Transitions), SHM’s groundbreaking program to reduce readmissions, first began in 2008, hospital sites applied to participate in a yearlong program of one-on-one mentorships, regular sessions to share best practices, and a resource toolkit.
Since then, Project BOOST has grown and evolved. Some BOOST iterations now include third parties, such as the University of Michigan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, and the California HealthCare Foundation. SHM also recently introduced a nationwide, tuition-based version of the BOOST initiative.
Now, SHM is announcing that new resources are available to all hospitals, regardless of their participation in Project BOOST, all year. Some resources were previously available only to Project BOOST participants; others are brand-new materials available to any hospital or hospitalist trying to reduce unplanned readmissions to their hospital.
“No matter where you are in the hospital, you have an opportunity to improve discharge,” says Tina Budnitz, MPH, senior advisor for quality improvement. “The response to Project BOOST has been overwhelmingly positive. That’s why we’re so excited to make these new materials available to anyone responsible for lowering readmissions.”
Individuals can download the Project BOOST implementation course, a new training program specifically designed to help nurses use the proven “teachback” method, and the Project BOOST patient PASS form.
Budnitz and Project BOOST organizers also plan to launch supplemental products for self-implementers, including access to Project BOOST e-mail listservs, data centers, and webinars.
With most of the country still enjoying warm weather, it’s easy to forget that flu season is right around the corner. Hospitals can either be part of the solution—or part of the problem.
Compared to friends and family outside of the hospital, patients in the hospital are especially at risk. The chances of contracting the flu are higher, given decreased immune responses and increased proximity to caregivers and other potentially infected patients. Plus, the impact of the flu on healthcare providers can be significantly more severe.
By now, most hospitals have protocols for preparing for flu season and isolating infected patients, says Danielle Scheurer, MD, MSc, SFHM, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston and director of general medical service at Brigham and Women’s Hospitalist Service. Hospitalists play a special role within those protocols, she adds.
“Hospitalists can be instrumental in preventing the spread of flu within the hospital by having a low threshold for diagnostic testing of patients, immediate isolation of those patients, and strict adherence to infection-control measures in those with suspected influenza,” Dr. Scheurer says.
Dr. Scheurer also emphasizes the fact that flu prevention doesn’t end with better clinical practices. Patient education is key.
“Hospitalists can be vital in educating patients about how to avoid symptomatic contacts,” she says, “and how to advocate for themselves in insisting that all care providers use strict handwashing protocols to avoid transmitting influenza among patients.” TH
The Hospitalist newsmagazine reports on issues and trends in hospital medicine. The Hospitalist reaches more than 25,000 hospitalists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, residents, and medical administrators interested in the practice and business of hospital medicine.