SAN DIEGO—Eleven years ago, about 100 physicians gathered in San Diego for a meeting of the National Association of Inpatient Physicians (NAIP). The term “hospitalist” had been coined only two years earlier for a fledgling specialty.
Fast forward to April 3, when NAIP—now SHM—returned to this city with 1,600 attendees for the largest gathering of hospitalists to date. This meeting, Hospital Medicine 2008, showcased a multitude of the society’s newest and boldest efforts.
Hot-off-the-presses data from the Society of Hospital Medicine 2007-2008 Survey were unveiled, showing hospitalists are getting paid more to do roughly the same amount of work they’d been doing. SHM also announced an upcoming Fellowship in Hospital Medicine credential, to be the first designation of commitment to the field. While handing over the reins to his successor Patrick J. Cawley, MD, outgoing SHM President Rusty Holman, MD, announced the development of a Hospital Care Collaborative that will foster cooperation among hospitalists, critical care nurses, pharmacists, and other hospital medicine stakeholders.
Attendees flocked to SHM’s new Rapid Fire clinical track for evidence-based answers to common question, delivered at a breakneck pace. For the first time, an award for Team Approaches in Quality Improvement was among those bestowed at the President’s Lunch. The winning project, “Optimizing Prevention of Hospital-Acquired Venous Thromboembolism,” was the creation of a team from the University of California, San Diego led by Gregory Maynard, MD, professor of clinical medicine and chief of the division of hospital medicine.
The future of our healthcare system and the role hospital medicine will play were uppermost on the minds of keynote speakers Don Berwick, MD, of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), healthcare futurist Ian Morrison, PhD, and Robert Wachter, MD, each of whom peered into their crystal balls to give hospitalists glimpses of the challenges and opportunities they might expect. Each urged hospitalists to assert their place in the forefront of reimagining the U.S. care system and claim a leading role in whatever system that might be.
A First Time for Everything
The meeting produced many firsts in the educational content provided, thanks to SHM’s Annual Meeting Committee, led by course director Sylvia McKean, MD.
“We did change some things,” Dr. McKean said. “We had a call for proposals for speakers and sessions, and picked up a session in the operational track, in the clinical track and in Rapid Fire. We got a tremendous response to this, and this was the first time we’d ever had an open call like that.”
Several of the all-day pre-courses were revamped or entirely new. Also new was the Rapid Fire track, which provided answers to dilemmas in critical care, perioperative cardiac, care and more—all in rapid bursts of information.
There also were more special-interest forums, offering an opportunity for all subsets under the tent of hospital medicine—from geriatric hospitalists to women hospitalists to rural hospitalists—to network and compare notes.
Another opportunity to network for those with strong lungs was the inaugural SHM Fun Run early April 5. Participants ran a 5K course along San Diego’s waterfront.
SHM Announces Firsts
At the President’s Lunch on April 5, SHM leaders unveiled plans for several initiatives that will continue to foster and improve hospital medicine.
Dr. Holman outlined recent SHM successes and introduced upcoming initiatives. Successes include the society’s policy and advocacy agenda. SHM members generated 1,700 letters to Congress in 2007 through the online Legislative Action Center and added their voices to a successful lobby to postpone a 10.1% physician pay cut by Medicare last year. He also discussed his appearance at a Senate roundtable March 6 on Capitol Hill to discuss Medicare’s value-based purchasing of hospital care.