SHM’s practice analysis committee has geared up over the last month or two in preparation for January’s biannual State of Hospital Medicine survey. We’ve been reviewing topics included in the survey with an eye toward making sure the content stays relevant to what hospitalists and hospital leaders want to know. And we’ve been parsing the language and construction of each question with the goal of making it as clear as possible.
Once the committee finalizes the survey questions, it will be time for our intrepid SHM staffer Patrick Vulgamore, MPH, to build and test the survey instrument. At the same time, the committee will complete supporting materials like FAQs, the survey guide, and the communication plan.
But not all the work is on our side. There are a number of things that you can do now to begin preparing for your survey participation.
First, Commit to Participating
The survey is only as good as the number and quality of responses that we receive. We need everyone to participate, whether your hospital medicine group works in an academic or community setting, whether you serve adult or pediatric patients or both, and whether you are employed by a hospital/system, a management company, or a private group.
Go ask the leaders of your group whether they plan to participate, and lobby heavily to be part of the process. In addition to helping define the current state of hospital medicine, your group will also receive a free copy of the survey report.
Make a Plan
Your next step is to identify who will be responsible for pulling together the required information and completing the survey instrument. You’ll also want to be thinking now about where the various pieces of information you’ll need will come from. The survey includes topics such as scope of clinical practice, schedule, skill mix and work allocation, compensation methodology and benefits, CPT code distribution, and amount of financial support received. Then make sure you set aside time in the January-March period to complete the survey, and check to see that any necessary approvals have been obtained.
Look for Survey Communications in January 2016
The practice analysis committee tries hard to cover every possible communication avenue, but invariably people will say, “We didn’t know it was time for the survey.” So this is your heads up to be on the lookout for your survey invitation—in the regular mail, in both targeted and general emails, in The Hospitalist and other SHM publications, and on the SHM website.
Participate in the MGMA Survey, Too
The SoHM survey doesn’t include questions about individual provider productivity and compensation, but those are some of the most often looked for data points. Instead, SHM partners with the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) to encourage hospital medicine groups to participate in the MGMA compensation and production survey—which will be conducted concurrently with SHM’s survey for both academic and non-academic groups. SHM then licenses this information for inclusion in the SoHM report.
Full participation in the SHM survey process means not just completing SHM’s SoHM survey but also completing the applicable MGMA survey. This is the only way we can obtain robust information about trends in hospitalist compensation and productivity to share with you.
So don’t wait until January. Start working now to ensure your group is well positioned to contribute to what we learn about the state of hospital medicine!
Leslie Flores is a member of SHM’s Practice Analysis Committee and a partner in Nelson Flores Hospital Medicine Consultants.