As I walked around our office during the week after this year’s SHM Annual Meeting, there was a simple question on the minds of many: What’s next?
After the 12-month planning of “Hospital Medicine 2007”—which culminated in a week away from family, getting out of bed before 5 a.m., and falling asleep after midnight—I guess “What’s next?” is a pretty reasonable question. It’s not at all a surprising question considering the “blood, sweat, and tears” so many volunteer leaders and staff gave to put on an event befitting the fastest-growing specialty in modern healthcare.
“What’s next?” is a fair question for our members to ask of us as well. After all, like so many other organizations, much of what SHM does is designed to come on line, or culminate, during the annual meeting.
I wanted to use this month’s column to give you a small glimpse inside our answer to this simple—yet powerful—question.
One of the surprise stories from “Hospital Medicine 2007” was the success of our Annual Meeting Blog. Over the course of three days, several hospital medicine leaders, including Bob Wachter, MD, shared their experiences—in real time—from Dallas. Augmenting the posts from these contributors were audio podcast interviews with notables that included keynote speaker David Brailer, MD, the first national coordinator for health information technology with the Department of Health and Human Services.
More than 1,000 people visited SHM’s first foray into the blogosphere. Even more exciting is that the blog had hits from hospitalists unable to join us in Dallas.
It used to be that we would say that the biggest meeting in hospital medicine took place each year at the site of the SHM Annual Meeting. With the introduction of the blog, we can now say that is no longer the case. The biggest meeting takes place in more than one city, in more than one hospital, with the geographic location of the SHM Annual Meeting just the hub.
The blog is just the beginning of the answer to the question “What’s next?”
During the coming year, we will use our blogging success as a building block to bringing what many call “new media” squarely into the framework of SHM. You are starting to see the first steps of that effort with the redesign of our homepage, www.hospitalmedicine.org.
To us, new media serves several purposes:
- Inform: The blog showed us a powerful way to deliver real-time news without the delay some publications require;
- Educate: We’re working on creating Webinars—audio conferences coupled with Internet presentations—that will bring education directly to you, at your institution, throughout the year;
- Connect: Through online discussions with thought leaders, including authors from The Hospitalist, we want to celebrate the fact that the most powerful connection we can facilitate is from physician to physician; and
- Differentiate: By bringing these elements together, from blogs and podcasts to Webinars and new online resources, we want to make the question “Why SHM?” one of the easiest you’ll ever have to answer.
What’s next? It’s an interesting question. To us, a major part of the answer is the same it’s always been: to continue innovating by building on our successes and being the group committed to blazing new trails that are focused squarely, and solely, on delivering benefit to our members and the hospital medicine movement.