Have you ever looked out your window and wondered, “When did that tree get planted?” Or wonder when you pass a new building that wasn’t there last week, “When did they build that?” Or remember a time when everyone didn’t have an iPod or a Treo Smartphone or Blackberry?
Well, hospital medicine and SHM are rapidly becoming the iPods of healthcare. We are still catching some by surprise. Others think we are everywhere, touching everything, and sometimes leaving them asking the universal question from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, “Who are those guys?”
Most of you know that while the adoption of hospital medicine and its meteoric rise seems at times a force of nature on a random and indeterminate course, the all too true reality is that many of the “sudden” advances by SHM have been many years in the planning. More than that, they have required key partnerships and significant behind the scenes activity.
It is very much akin to the sudden stardom of veteran performers who have been honing their craft under a smaller spotlight waiting for their time to come. The time for hospital medicine is now.
This is all the more important because hospital medicine has been getting by as a growth story for a while now and it is time to add the substance that will propel our specialty forward as a permanent part of the medical landscape and a key partner in improvement strategies for hospitals and our patients’ care.
Hospital medicine has its own repository now for our contributions to science and the formulation of the hospital of the future in the Journal of Hospital Medicine. The inaugural issue has met with accolades and acceptance. The second issue is on the way and soon it will seem like there has always been a JHM.
The first issue of JHM was all the more important and noteworthy because it was accompanied by a supplement: The Core Competencies in Hospital Medicine. Years in the making, this thoughtful document put SHM’s nickel down and said “Here is what makes hospital medicine unique: an evolving specialty, emanating from our roots in internal medicine, family practice, and pediatrics, but with a relevance to the practice of medicine in our nation’s hospitals in the 21st century.”
Fully accepting the hospitalists’ role in building teams, improving quality, driving hospital efficiencies, and promoting effective care, we hope the Competencies will be part of our road map as we participate in such important but disparate efforts as redesigning internal medicine training, developing a unique credential for hospitalists, and planning the hospital of the future.
These efforts, like JHM or The Core Competencies just a few years ago, are concepts today that will form the reality in the near term. As they develop I will use this space to bring you new developments and prepare all of us for our active roles in defining, participating in, and implementing the new future.
Recognition of Hospitalists
For several years SHM has been talking with the thought leaders in internal medicine including American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), American College of Physicians (ACP), Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM), and others about not only the growth in size of hospital medicine, but the unique practice of hospitalists that defines us as related and as distinct from the rest of internal medicine as cardiology or critical care.