Other ideas centered on the development of midlevel provider hospitalists and limiting our scope of practice. To the latter point, there was a lively debate about just how much of the traditionally “non-medical” piece of the pie hospitalists should bite off. Eric Siegal, MD, tackled this issue in a later session challenging hospitalist groups to rethink the value of further expanding the co-management model to more surgical patients while we struggle to care for the patients for whom we currently care.
I learned that Drs. Nelson and Win Whitcomb, co-founders of SHM, showed tremendous vision in their founding of this society. I had the chance to have lunch with John, and I asked him if he ever imagined that the tiny group he brought together in San Diego 11 years ago would ever grow to this—20,000 hospitalists, 6,000 SHM members, an annual meeting with 1,600 people, and a hospitalist (Russell Holman, MD, past president of SHM) seated at the table of the most influential healthcare policy meetings in Washington, D.C.
Rather than being awestruck by the development of this field and SHM, he simply noted this is exactly what he and Win foresaw more than a decade ago; this is the reason they founded SHM. That’s the kind of vision that explains why the field of hospital medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty.
I learned that the future of hospital medicine is being defined today. Nearly 200 posters were presented at the Research, Innovations and Clinical Vignettes (RIV) Competition. When we look back 10 years from now, we will see a mature field and wonder how we got there so quickly.
That future is being constructed today by folks like Ken Epstein, MD, who presented fascinating data on the effects of fragmentation of hospitalist care, and Param Dedhia, MD, who showed that a formalized discharge toolkit could reduce emergency visits and hospital readmissions in elderly patients.
Finally, while I was away in the city named after a saint, I learned that my wife, too, is a saint. Unable to travel with me, she was landlocked in Denver with our 6-month-old son. I, like many attendees, acknowledge the families who sacrificed so their loved ones could attend the meeting. While I was socializing, learning, networking, and teaching a session, my wife was home soothing tears, changing diapers, cleaning chinfuls of cereal, and answering 3 a.m. wakeup calls. On behalf of all attendees I say thanks to all the saints who enabled us to be away charting the course of hospital medicine at Hospital Medicine 2008. TH
Dr. Glasheen is associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver, where he serves as director of the Hospital Medicine Program and the Hospitalist Training Program, and as associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program.