A good friend once said of parenthood, “The nights are long and the years are short.” That has certainly been my experience as a parent, and as I get older, the years seem to get even shorter. As president of SHM, this past year has seemed especially short and time has flown by. It has been a year of fun, excitement, and pride as I have had the privilege of leading our growing organization and having a front-row seat to all that is happening at SHM.
As I write this column—my last as president—I am flying back from a meeting of our board of directors. We spent two days discussing the business and future of SHM. Reflecting on all that we considered, I am again amazed at what our young organization and field have accomplished, what we’ve done in the past year, and where we are going. I want to share with you some of the highlights and close with some thoughts about our work.
The most important advance in education this year has been the publication of the Core Competencies in Hospital Medicine as a supplement to the first issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine (JHM). The core competencies delineate the clinical conditions, procedures, and systems issues that form the basis of hospital medicine and define what a hospitalist needs to know and what our field is about.
I am particularly proud that our core competencies include a section on systems issues. Reflecting the central role of hospitalists in improving the systems of care in addition to focusing on the single patient, the systems section has the most chapters in the core competencies. Topics such as quality improvement, information management, patient handoff, patient safety, palliative care, communication, care of the elderly patient, and professionalism and medical ethics demonstrate that we understand that to really improve the care of patients you need to see the big picture of how care is delivered and to understand how to make the system work better.
If you haven’t yet done so, I encourage you to peruse the core competencies to see what you know and what you want to learn. You will see us use the core competencies in The Hospitalist, JHM, the SHM web site, and our educational programs at the annual meeting and elsewhere.
I want to thank Alpesh Amin, MD, Daniel Dressler, MD, Sylvia McKean, MD, Michael Pistoria, MD, and Tina Budnitz, MPH, who spent countless hours on this project and the many other hospitalists and others who contributed time and expertise to producing such an important document for our field.
SHM continues to take a lead in improving patient safety and quality of care, reflecting our belief that hospitalists play a key role in these important areas. I invite you to visit the SHM Web site page titled “Quality and Safety” to see the impressive resource rooms that have been developed. Covering topics from antimicrobial resistance to stroke to venous thromboembolism to heart failure, these resource rooms provide all the elements you need to implement a quality improvement project at your hospital.
Each resource room was developed with a project team of experts in the area. The team collected all the best evidence, outlined arguments for why to act, provided tools that can be adapted or used as is, and offered an opportunity to ask questions of the experts. A geriatrics resource room is coming soon. If you are asked to implement a quality improvement or patient safety project, take advantage of this outstanding resource.