Currently, the Hospitalist Workload Model Working Group awaits money to hire an external consultant to study hospitalists’ workloads across the province. B.C. hospitalists also are forging a new partnership with the Canadian College of Family Physicians (CCFP). Family practice physicians formerly were wedded to the “mantra of the full-service family physician who did everything—patients, obstetrics, pediatrics—and now they are recognizing that practice patterns are changing,” explains Dr. Wilton. “In order to remain relevant, they need to acknowledge hospital medicine, embrace it and regulate it, to make sure that it is done well.”
The CCFP is now partnering with hospitalists to establish a hospital medicine certification process. Another positive step: the University of Toronto is beginning a new one-year hospital medicine fellowship program. (www.sunnybrook.ca/education/Hospitalist).
Hospitalists across Canada are “in the middle stages” of forming their HM society, reports Dr. Wilton, who has led efforts to build a national database and to launch a survey of Canadian hospitalists. Dr. Enns, who initiated the first Canadian SHM chapter in 2000, thinks opportunities abound for increased collaborations across the border. For instance, she says, having Canadian hospitals involved in multicenter trials of DVT prophylaxis or diabetes initiatives could prove fruitful.
Dr. Nelson also agrees SHM and Canadian hospitalists should continue to consult and work with each other. “There are a number of Canadians who are active in SHM and I think that should continue,” he says. “We have a lot to learn from one another because for most of the issues we face the solutions are going to be the same.”
Drs. Wilton and DeMott invite their U.S. colleagues to attend the 6th annual Canadian Hospitalist Conference from Sept. 27-28, at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver, BC. SHM CEO Larry Wellikson, MD, will be the keynote speaker. To register visit www.cpdkt.ubc.ca.
Dr. Wilton notes that despite the slow rate of change for hospitalists, there are positive aspects to their work. “We all know—fundamentally—that we are essential to the functioning of the hospitals,” he says. “We know we’re needed and valued on the frontlines. The [government] bureaucracy and the medical establishment are slow to change, but they eventually will.”
Dr. DeMott considers the future of BCMA hopeful. “We’re going to have a bigger role at the BCMA. They’re going to come to completely appreciate us, and things will hopefully be less acrimonious in the future.”
Both physicians agree the crisis of June 2006 served to heighten awareness of hospitalists’ value.
“It was the hospitalists’ time to make people recognize what we do and that we need to be adequately compensated for it,” Dr. Wilton says. TH
Gretchen Henkel is a medical writer based in California.