Denver—The Pediatric Hospital Medicine 2005 conference, held July 28–31, got off to a rousing start with a networking reception that preceded the keynote lecture on Thursday evening, July 28. Dan Rauch, MD, cochair of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association (APA) Special Interest Group in Hospital Medicine, welcomed the 200+ attendees. He described the meeting as the result of tremendous cooperation among the APA, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the SHM.
“It’s been a tremendous pleasure to work with all three organizations,” said Dr. Rauch. “We have been truly blessed with leaders who think that growth of the field is more important than individual turf battles. I highly recommend that everybody in the room become members of all three organizations.”
Dr. Rauch later told The Hospitalist that he was surprised by how many attendees actually weren’t members of any of the three organizations.
The mostly young pediatric hospitalists in attendance came from all over the United States and Canada. According to keynote speaker Larry Wellikson, MD, CEO of SHM, the median age of the typical hospitalist is 37, and fewer than 10% are 50 or older. Dr. Rauch said the typical pediatric hospitalist is even younger.
In fact, the pediatric hospitalist profession is still in its infancy, a point underscored by the panel discussion during Friday’s plenary session, “Future Directions.” The conversation centered on whether pediatric hospitalist medicine is truly a new subspecialty or simply a job type within general pediatrics. Most attendees seemed to agree that in practice it is a new subspecialty, but gaining acknowledgement of that fact from the professional organizations, academics, hospital administrators, insurers, general practice pediatricians, and even from some pediatric hospitalists themselves is the continuing challenge.
Professional advancement was a theme every speaker emphasized, beginning with Dr. Wellikson.
You are building and defining the hospital of the future.
—Larry Wellikson, MD, CEO of SHM, explaining that the legacy of this generation of hospitalists will be to define hospital medicine.
CREATING THE HOSPITAL OF THE FUTURE
“My life’s goals were to be dean of a med school when I was 40 and a United States senator at 50,” said Dr. Wellikson during his keynote address. He may not have achieved those particular goals, but, he revealed, “believe it or not, my life has been even better than that.”
Dr. Wellikson, who discussed the current status of hospital medicine, is a sought-after speaker and consultant who helps hospitals and physicians understand the current medical environment and create strategies to succeed in it.
“You are building and defining the hospital of the future,” Dr. Wellikson told participants, explaining that the legacy of this generation of hospitalists will be to define hospital medicine. “[Hospitalists] are going to be the most important part of the hospital of the future.
“Hospitals are changing,” he said, describing the hospital of the future as patient-centered with medical care driven by measurable data and practiced in teams. With emergency departments overcrowded and hospitals and ICUs running at capacity, he predicts that $20 billion per year will be spent on hospital construction over the next 10 years. He foresees primary care pediatricians giving up inpatient care.
“Hospitalist medicine is by far the fastest growing medical specialty in the country,” said Dr. Wellikson. Currently, there are approximately 11,295 hospitalists, and he predicts that there will be 30,000 by the end of the decade. Approximately 9% of hospitalists are pediatricians.
According to Dr. Wellikson, 30% of 4,895 community hospitals today have hospitalists on staff, with about eight hospitalists per hospital. The larger the hospital, the more likely it is to have hospitalists: