Take a look at the HM16 program, and you get a snapshot of the most pressing topics in hospital medicine. Specifically, four new educational tracks are being rolled out at this year’s annual meeting, including a new track on the patient-doctor relationship, which is so crucial with today’s growing emphasis on patient satisfaction, and a track focused on perioperative medicine, an important area with a fast-moving frontier. Another new track covers post-acute care, a setting in which more and more hospitalists find themselves practicing. Then there’s the big daddy: health information technology (IT) for hospitalists.
Course Director Melissa Mattison, MD, SFHM, also points to a new twist in the way the conference will attempt to tackle the tough topic of work-life balance.
Here’s a look at what’s new for HM16 attendees.
Health IT for Hospitalists
“There’s not a hospitalist in the country who’s not affected by IT and updates to their [electronic medical records (EMR)], new adoption of EMR technology, different vendors,” Dr. Mattison says. “We’re always searching for something to make our lives better and make the care that we provide more high quality.”
There will be sessions of a general nature, such as “There’s an App for That,” a review of mobile apps helpful to hospitalists. And there will be those for the more passionate technophiles, such as a session on clinical informatics and “Using IT to Help Drive the Shift from Volume to Value.”
“We’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sure there’s something for everyone,” says Kendall Rogers, MD, SFHM, chair of SHM’s IT Committee. “And even within each individual talk, we’ve tried to make sure that there is material that can be applicable from the frontline hospitalist to the CMIO of a hospital.”
Dr. Rogers says the committee has “really been pushing” to have its own track at the annual meeting.
Listen to more of our interview with Dr. Rogers.
“Health IT continues to be an area of great frustration and great promise,” he says. “I think most of the frustration that hospitalists have is because they realize the potential of health IT, and they see how far it is from the reality of what they’re working with every day.
“Hospitalists are well-suited for actively being involved in clinical informatics, but many of us would be far more effective in our roles with more formal education and training.”
It’s estimated that as many as 35% of hospitalists work in the post-acute setting. The number very much surprised Dr. Mattison. When she heard of the figure, “[the committee] lobbied very hard to get a track for post-acute care.”
One session, “Building and Managing a PAC Practice,” will review setting up a staff, relevant regulations, billing, and collecting, and it should be of interest to both managers and physicians, says Sean Muldoon, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer of the hospitalist division at Louisville, Ken.–based Kindred Healthcare and chair of SHM’s Post-Acute Care Task Force.
Another session, “Lost in Transitions,” will review information gaps and propose solutions “to the well-known voltage drop of information that can happen in transfer from the hospital to post-acute care.”
At Kindred, Dr. Muldoon says he has seen the benefits of hospitalist involvement in post-acute care.
“In many markets, we seek out and often are able to become a practice site for a large hospitalist medical group,” he says. “That’s really good for us, the patients, and, we think, the hospitalists because it allows the hospitalists to be exposed to the practice and benefits of post-acute care without having to make a full commitment to be a skilled-nursing physician or a long-term acute-care physician.”