- Expand and engage SHM’s membership. Although we just reached our 15,000th member, there are 52,000 hospitalists, plus even more when you include advanced practice colleagues, whom we would like to become SHM members under our “big tent.” We want to draw in those hospitalists, show them how, whether it’s through our educational offerings, learning portal, or active involvement in projects and committees, we can engage them at every stage of their career—and ask them what else we can do to help them find their path and be prepared for it.
- We must continue pushing our members and projects to be focused on patient- and family-centered care. Every project that takes the extra steps of incorporating the thoughts and feelings of our patients and families will get a better result. I would like to see hospitalists everywhere take a strong position to remember that our patients and their families are our partners in their care; We need to lead on the patient experience and patient-centered care front. Two years ago, we launched the Patient Experience Committee to do just that, and it is an important research topic on the minds of the Journal of Hospital Medicine editors. After all, we are all people needing people.
- We have to move assertively to understand our role in an era of risk. While in many senses we have been managing risk either directly or indirectly for decades, the payment models of care (episodes, bundles, MIPS, ACOs) are evolving quickly, and we must stake out our place in this new risk-sharing world and identify our partners. Hospitalists need to have a clear message about how what we do mitigates risk and adds value. In the coming year, SHM will start to do that.
- In the coming years, we will need to clarify our position regarding specialty recognition, including our training programs. We already have many key components that we identify with as a specialty. While this is also something contentious and political, when we look at the divergence between what we have to do to be clinically effective (e.g., palliative medicine, ICU care, QI, leadership, etc.) and what our training programs provide for us, that gap appears to be increasing. SHM has stepped up with curriculum to fill these gaps and will continue to do so. However, we must question how best to train physicians for these roles and if the current model is sustainable and suitable.
I am privileged and honored to serve as your new president, and I ask each of you to look at yourselves and the opportunities that your practice provides you with to grow—personally and professionally—and make our system and specialty better. Look to SHM to help you, support you, and provide resources for you to walk your path. TH
Dr. Harte is a practicing hospitalist, president of the Society of Hospital Medicine, and president of Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, part of the Cleveland Clinic Health System. He is associate professor of medicine at the Lerner College of Medicine in Cleveland.