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Focus on Research

As hospital medicine progresses, it is important that our new specialty be seen as a true academic discipline—not just as a service specialty. Starting our own journal, the Journal of Hospital Medicine, in 2006 was an important step. While there are a growing number of hospitalist researchers around the country, it is important that SHM promote and support further development of researchers in hospital medicine.

This year, SHM’s research efforts will include the development of a wide research network, support for individual and organizational research initiatives, and a focus on strengthening the internal research organization. These efforts will necessarily be broad and will cut across and incorporate the efforts that are already underway in the areas of education and quality.

Goals for SHM Research Efforts

  1. Increase extramural research funding to SHM and its members;
  2. Contribute to the growing number of SHM members choosing the society for the career development and research opportunities it offers; and
  3. Improve visibility and credibility for SHM nationally (e.g., hospitalists in prominent academic leadership positions and on national panels).

The development of a wide research network will include the identification of researchers in the SHM membership with common research interests. A preliminary list has been generated from an e-mail sent to all SHM members in November 2006 promoting two NIH opportunities to study venous thromboembolism (VTE) and asking for a response from members interested in receiving similar information. A monthly grant opportunity bulletin is planned for release to this audience. As this Research Forum develops, a type of research dating service could match research interests and experience with those interested in funding such projects.

An important networking activity is finding ways to link academic and community sites. One possible mechanism to enable such collaboration is an Internet-based tool for abstracting information from a medical chart. The resulting data could be shared and used to validate quality measures, tailor therapies, or assess the prevalence of disease. Also, an inter-society Academic Summit is planned to investigate areas in which collaboration with other professional societies would be appropriate. Be sure to voice your opinions during the Special Interest Forum on Research at the 2007 Annual Meeting on May 24, 2007, in Dallas.

Support for individual and organizational research initiatives will take the form of identifying opportunities and showcasing more opportunities for research at national conferences and local meetings. By working closely to identify commonalities with the Hospital Quality and Patient Safety (HQPS) Committee around research, implementation, and education, this support is designed to be seamless and coordinated. Currently under consideration is the development of research pages on the SHM Web site to highlight ongoing research efforts, possibly including a searchable, online catalog or a database of research opportunities. As time allows, assistance with individual grant applications will be offered.

By focusing on strengthening the internal SHM research organization, an increasingly visible research committee will present a consistent message of support for research and will hopefully empower individual hospital researchers to access the resources of SHM in all possible ways, from using the resource rooms on the SHM Web site to reading the Journal of Hospital Medicine to attending chapter meetings. Strengthening the internal research infrastructure will extend the sphere of influence and raise the profile of SHM as hospitalists appear on national panels, co-authoring key papers, and participating in other research communities. Increased visibility will lead to more support for training, fellowships, and pilot grant programs for promising potential projects in high-priority areas such as health services, quality improvement, clinical epidemiologic studies (clinical trial, genomics, biomarkers), and educational and health technology research.

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