Quality

A Glimpse at the Future of Hospital Medicine


 

Hospitalists touch the lives of patients and shape health systems’ practices and health policy on a national and international scale according to an editorial titled “The Next 20 Years of Hospital Medicine: Continuing to Foster the Mind, Heart, and Soul of Our Field.”1

“This editorial was my reflection on the ‘Year of the Hospitalist’ and where I think the field needs to go in terms of its professionalism, patient-centeredness, and science,” says author Andrew D. Auerbach, MD, MPH, SFHM, who has worked as a hospitalist for more than 20 years. “We’ve grown extraordinarily fast, but some important aspects of our work need to be fleshed out.”

One example: Hospital medicine has been growing research capacity at a rate that is slower than the field overall, a problem due in part to funding limitations for fellowships and early-career awards, which has restricted the pipeline of young researchers. “Slow growth may also be a result of an emphasis on health systems rather than diseases,” Dr. Auerbach says.

Dr. Auerbach also is concerned about making sure the field of hospital medicine is attractive and sustainable as a career.

“A large amount of burnout can be attributed to things like EHRs, billing, etc., that are real dissatisfiers, but another broad area is in reconnecting with our professional/personal reasons for becoming physicians,” he says. “That needs to be reinvigorated. I also feel very strongly that we need to develop our own research agenda and grow research networks, but even those will need to be reconnected to patient needs more directly.”

Reference

  1. Auerbach AD. The next 20 years of hospital medicine: continuing to foster the mind, heart, and soul of our field [published online ahead of print July 4, 2016]. J Hosp Med. doi:10.1002/jhm.2631.

Quick Byte: Health Economics

Policymakers often pay attention to health impacts in areas such as urban planning, housing, and transportation, but the health impacts of economic policies are often overlooked. To start that conversation, a study called “Incorporating Economic Policy into a ‘Health-in-All-Policies’ Agenda” pooled data from all 50 states for the period 1990–2010.

“Overall, we found better health outcomes in states that enacted higher tax credits for the poor or higher minimum wage laws and in states without a right-to-work law that limits union power,” the researchers reported. “Notably, these policies focus on increasing the incomes of low-income and working-class families, instead of on shaping the resources available to wealthier individuals.”

Reference

1. Rigby E, Hatch ME. Incorporating economic policy into a ‘health-in-all-policies’ agenda. Health Aff. 2016;35(11):2044-2052.

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