Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a June 2015 post on SHM’s official blog, “The Hospital Leader”.
When you see him on stage, it’s like he’s always been here. Bob Wachter, MD, one of the pioneers of the hospital medicine movement, has taken the podium at SHM’s annual meetings for more than a decade. Whether he’s uncovering important issues in electronic medical records or covering Elton John songs, he seems like a fixture in our world—and in healthcare.
The Unique Paths of Hospitalist Careers
But, rather than being a fixed, static thing, the life of any hospitalist—including the leaders of the movement—is a progression.
That progression starts in a different place for every hospitalist and is influenced by the people and events in their lives. Some hospitalists knew they wanted to be in medicine from a young age. Others found their calling much later in life.
Every one of those progressions is interspersed with moments of humor. For instance, this piece of hospitalist trivia: Dr. Wachter was the Penn Quaker mascot for the University of Pennsylvania the last time its men’s basketball team made it to the Final Four.
They also include the kinds of profound experiences that get to the very root of what it means to be a hospitalist. For Bob, it was being a resident in the ICU at the University of California San Francisco in the 1980s, just as AIDS was beginning to be diagnosed and understood.
That’s why I’m proud to introduce “Before the White Coat,” a new podcast from SHM, available on iTunes and other podcast apps. “Before the White Coat” is a 20-minute podcast, presented every two weeks.
Today, you can listen to full interviews between me and Bob Wachter, Ron Greeno of IPC Health, Jeff Wiese at Tulane University, SHM President Bob Harrington, CMS's Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway and UCLA's Nasim Afsar. And later in September, Before the White Coat will present exclusive insights into the lives of Brian Harte of the Cleveland Clinic and Mark Williams at the University of Kentucky.
—Larry Wellikson, MD, MHM
Next, you’ll hear from Ron Greeno, MD, MHM, FCCP, now chief strategy officer at IPC Healthcare. After that, I’ll talk with many of the other leaders every two weeks, including Pat Conway, MD, MSc, at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Mary Jo Gorman, MD, MBA, who founded Advanced ICU Care, and Nasim Afsar, MD, FSHM, at UCLA.
I’m looking forward to exploring the progression of their lives and careers with you. These personal conversations complement the wealth of clinical and practice management information that SHM already offers.
Podcast: A Format That Works for Hospitalists
Hospitalists are busy people. Whether at the hospital or at home, they are almost constantly on their feet. We wanted to present “Before the White Coat” as a podcast—something you can listen to while on the way to the hospital—or on the way home. Or maybe during an off hour in either place.
And we know that hospitalists are interested in podcasts; podcasts produced and distributed by The Hospitalist have been downloaded more than 40,000 times.
In fact, this podcast is modeled on some of the most successful podcasts out there: National Public Radio’s industry-leading podcasts, the new podcasts from Gimlet Media, and Adam Corolla’s “Take a Knee.”
Those podcasts have proven that the format works—and that people are catching on quickly. According to new research from the Pew Research Center, one in three Americans have listened to a podcast, and the number of people who have listened to a podcast in the last month has doubled since 2008.
How to Listen and Share
I hope you’ll join their ranks today. Here’s how:
- Visit the “Before the White Coat” website, www.beforethewhitecoat.org.
- iTunes users can subscribe by searching “Before the White Coat” in the podcast section of iTunes.
- And listeners using other podcast apps can either search for “Before the White Coat” or find details on the podcast website.
This is a new project for SHM, and I hope you’ll tell us what you think. You can tweet your reaction at @SHMLive—use the #B4theWC hashtag.
Finally, if you like it, I hope you’ll share it with friends, colleagues, and others in medicine.
As always, thank you for being an active part of the hospital medicine movement. I hope you’ll enjoy this newest piece of it.
Larry Wellikson is CEO of the Society of Hospital Medicine.