Benchmarks Committee Update
By Burke Kealey, MD, chair, SHM Benchmarks Committee
The SHM Benchmarks Committee has had a busy schedule with its new special issues survey and wrapping up work on The Dashboard Project, a first-of-its-kind undertaking. Committee members (under the guidance of Editor Leslie Flores) wrote summaries of 10 sample performance metrics. Each article is designed around a given metric and includes an in-depth discussion of why it is important and where to obtain the necessary data. Sample graphs from other programs will also be included.
The intent is for hospitalist leaders and program managers to use The Dashboard Project to learn what kind of metrics their peers use to manage their respective programs. The final draft was reviewed by the entire committee and circulated to SHM leaders, including the board of directors. It will be published through SHM’s publication, The Hospitalist, and promoted at the SHM Annual Meeting in Dallas in May.
In a break from recent tradition, the SHM Benchmarks Committee (with approval from the SHM Board) has changed how it conducts surveys. The committee will now produce shorter, simpler surveys annually—rather than producing a mega-survey every other year. The committee will conduct an individual hospitalist compensation and productivity survey every other year (including later in 2007); in the alternate year (along with baseline practice demographics) the committee will address the special topics of interest discussed below.
With input from SHM’s Palliative Care Task Force, this year’s special interest survey (which was conducted in November and December of 2006) included questions on palliative care and its growing place in the world of hospital medicine. Night and off-hours coverage continue to be topics of interest for membership. Questions in this section examined the scope of night coverage, including providing ICU coverage for intensivists and getting paid for as well as paying providers for this work.
Issues for family medicine hospitalists are also addressed. Anecdotally, the Benchmarks Committee has heard of family medicine hospitalists running into difficulties securing work because they have been barred by hospital contracts and/or bylaws stating that only internal medicine or pediatrics board-certified physicians can occupy those slots. The survey was designed to capture the pervasiveness of this practice.
Finally, in this era of pay for performance and open reporting, quality measures and their relationship to physician revenue and compensation is a topic that every hospital medicine leader needs to understand. The survey contained a section that looked at the degree to which pay-for-performance programs are actually being seen in the hospitals we practice at, and then, even more important, how those dollars are tied to quality incentive programs between hospitals and hospital medicine groups.
The results of this special interest survey are currently being analyzed and will be published later this spring. TH
SHM is now accepting applications for the VTE Prevention Collaborative, a program that offers individualized assistance to hospitalists wishing to take the lead on this critical quality and patient safety issue.