For the last six months or so, not a week has gone by in which someone hasn’t asked me when the new SHM survey report will be released. The anticipation level is high, and rightly so. This will be the first new look at hospitalist practice characteristics in two years, and boy, have they been an eventful two years!
On behalf of SHM and the SHM Practice Analysis Committee (PAC), I’m thrilled to introduce SHM’s 2014 State of Hospital Medicine Report (SOHM) and the resumption of the monthly “Survey Insights” article written by PAC members. Here are a few key things you should know about the new SOHM report:
- The content is more wide-ranging than ever. SHM leaves the collection of hospitalist compensation and productivity data to the Medical Group Management Association—SHM licenses compensation and production data from MGMA and has incorporated it into the new SOHM report—but covers just about every other aspect of hospitalist group structure and operations imaginable. In addition to traditional questions regarding scope of services, staffing and scheduling models, and financial support, this year’s report includes new information about hospitalist back-up staffing plans, how academic hospitalist time is allocated, accountable care organization participation, electronic health record use, and the presence of other hospital-focused practice specialties.
Use the report to assess how your practice compares to your peers, but always keep in mind that surveys don’t tell you what should be—they only tell you what currently is..
—Leslie Flores, MHA
- The number of survey participants is larger than ever. This year SHM received eligible responses from 499 different hospitalist groups, an increase of about 7% over 2012. Respondents continue to represent all employer/ownership models and geographic regions, in roughly similar proportions to previous surveys. And we continue to get good participation by both academic and nonacademic hospital medicine groups. This means we have more—and more reliable—information than ever for different subgroups of hospitalists.
- The report is more accessible and easier to read than it has ever been. This year SHM has produced the SOHM report in full color, with professional layout and graphics; it’s a pleasure to read compared to previous versions. And, for the first time, SHM is making available a web-based version of the full report, so that you can refer to it anywhere and at any time.
As a consultant, I refer to my copy of the SOHM report almost every day and find it indispensable as a source of context when offering advice to my clients. And I’m always interested to see the diverse ways in which hospitalist groups across the country use survey information to make decisions about how to run their practices and to explain their environments to hospital leaders and other stakeholders.
I encourage you to obtain a copy of the SOHM report and review it carefully; you’ll almost certainly find more than one interesting and useful tidbit of information. Use the report to assess how your practice compares to your peers, but always keep in mind that surveys don’t tell you what should be—they only tell you what currently is. New best practices not reflected in survey data are emerging all the time, and the ways others do things won’t always be right for your group’s unique situation and needs. Whether you are partners or employees, you and your colleagues “own” the success of your practice and are the best judges of what is right for you.
Leslie Flores is a PAC member and partner of Nelson Flores Hospital Medicine Consultants.