A team of a dozen hospitalist experts has joined forces with The Hospitalist to provide our readers exclusive insights into the critical issues facing hospital medicine.
Team Hospitalist comprises a diverse array of hospital medicine talent by region, specialty, and experience. The team was selected late last year from a pool of more than two dozen candidates, and each member will serve a two-year term.
Team members will share their professional expertise on a regular basis within the pages of The Hospitalist and on our Web site (www.the-hospitalist.org) via blogs and discussion rooms. The team’s contributions will range from being tapped as sources for stories to sharing short accounts of their experiences relating to topics they are intimately familiar with.
Advancing the mission of hospital medicine is at the core of why team members say they desire to participate on this unique panel.
“Physicians practicing hospital medicine over the next couple of years must remember that providing excellent care to our patients remains our highest priority,” says Ken Patrick, MD, director of the intensive-care unit at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia. “Being compassionate, empathetic, and communicating effectively to our patients, their families, and their primary care physicians can be exceedingly difficult in the stressful hospital environment. Having been trained in both primary care and critical care medicine and practiced hospital medicine for more than 25 years remind me just how vitally important this is for our profession.”
Nuts-and-bolts issues like funding, technology, research, and quality standards are uppermost on these experts’ minds.
Specializing in electronic medical technology and progressive scheduling, David J. Yu, MD, hopes to share his approaches to innovating hospital medicine. “Hospitalist programs will encounter more difficult problems … which will require medical directors to forego traditional and exhausted methods of practice,” says Dr. Yu, medical director of hospitalist services, Decatur Memorial Hospital, and clinical assistant professor, family and community medicine, Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine. “I hope to share my experiences in creating innovative approaches to scheduling and our creative use of electronic medical technology to advance the art of hospital medicine into the 21st century.”
The evolution of hospital medicine presents opportunities—and risks—says Rajeev Alexander, MD, lead hospitalist, Oregon Medical Group, Eugene, Ore.
“I enjoy the intellectual challenge hospitalist medicine presents, the range of pathologies and sorts of problems we’re asked about—everything from intensive care work to end-of-life care,” he says. “I would like to see hospitalist medicine evolve an identity along the lines of emergency medicine and/or anesthesia.” However, he fears hospitalists could be seen as, or become, either “physicians with a rapid turnover and without ties to the community who treat the position as a mere stepping stone before a higher-paying specialty fellowship, or … overgrown house officers who, because of their status as employed physicians, are seen as fungible by hospital administrators.”