Medicolegal Issues

Self-Study Suggestions


What are hospitalist leaders reading these days? What books, journals, and Web sites do they turn to—or recommend—for honing management skills, keeping up with industry trends, or generally staying sharp? In the January 2008 issue of The Hospitalist, four hospitalists in management positions shared their picks; here, three other leaders in the industry offer their “recommended reads.”

The President’s Picks

SHM President Patrick Cawley, MD, chief medical officer of the University of South Carolina Medical Center in Charleston, recommends a variety of resources for hospitalists in leadership positions and those who aspire to lead.

You're in Charge, Now What? The 8 Point Plan by Thomas J. Neff and James M. Citrin

“For any leader moving into a new position, this is an invaluable guide for the first six months,” Dr. Cawley says. “It was originally written for CEOs, but it works for any leadership role. Every time I have taken on a new leadership position, I have re-read it and learned something new.”

Competitive Advantage by Michael E. Porter

“This business reference classic details the underpinnings of today’s MBA programs,” Dr. Cawley explains. “The concepts of competitive advantage, value creation, and value chain are absolutes to anyone involved in strategic planning, and certainly for any hospitalist program which requires financial support.”

A Sense of Urgency by John P. Kotter

The newest book by a leading expert in change management, this book focuses on the first step of successful change. “All hospitalists who are interested in improving quality must understand the difference between false urgency and true urgency, since it is key to knowing which events can be used to successfully drive change,” Dr. Cawley states.

Getting Things Done by David Allen

“I’m always on a quest for better personal organization and time management skills,” Dr. Cawley admits. “GTD is one such method. Combine the book with the Microsoft Outlook tips and you’ll never look back.”

Harvard Business Review

“This is one of the few magazines I read cover to cover each month—Harvard Business Review is the business community’s equivalent of the New England Journal of Medicine,” Dr. Cawley says.

Hardwiring Excellence by Quint Studer

“Many hospitals across the nation have engaged the Studer Group to help improve leadership accountability and performance,” Dr. Cawley explains. “This book is the hospital version of Good to Great.”

Dr. Cawley adds, “for something really different … .”

The Prince by Machiavelli and The Politics of Life: 25 Rules for Survival in a Brutal and Manipulative World by Craig Crawford

“For any hospitalist who is part of a larger organization, and certainly for any leader, politics are a constant,” Dr. Cawley points out. “If you’re serious about understanding such motivations, you need to become not only a student of leadership, but one of politics, as well. The place to start is The Prince. Strive for the deeper understanding of Machiavelli and not the often quoted ‘ends justifies the means’ superficiality. Crawford’s book is the modern equivalent.”

A Pediatric Hospitalist Recommends…

Jack Percelay, MD, MPH, FAAP, E.L.M.O. Pediatrics, New York, also serves on SHM’s board of directors. He recommends reading these five resources:

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury

Dr. Percelay calls this book required reading, saying, “This is not new—it’s a core requirement for hospital medicine group leaders, hospitalists, or anyone who needs to negotiate for themselves.”

Hospitalists: A Guide to Building and Sustaining a Successful Program by Joseph A. Miller, John Nelson, MD, and Winthrop F. Whitcomb, MD

“This is a tremendously useful resource, if you’re having problems with your administration—if the C-suite doesn’t really ‘get’ hospitalists,” Dr. Percelay says. “It helps readers understand the philosophy behind a highly successful hospital medicine program. If you were going to convert a hospital executive to hospital medicine with one book, this is the book to give them. It’s very useful to know about for this reason.”

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High and Crucial Confrontations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler

“These books are more advanced and are targeted for those interested in developing their conflict resolution and leadership skills,” Dr. Percelay says. “They were recommended on the SHM practice management list serve, and they’re for both your personal and your professional life. These are the most useful leadership books I have read this year.”

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Pediatric Grand Rounds available at www.cincinnatichildrens. org/ed/cme/streaming-media/library/pgr/default.htm

“This is a pediatrics resource. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has all of its grand rounds on the Web,” Dr. Percelay says. “For someone like me, who works in a community hospital and doesn’t have access to the latest and greatest research, this site provides free access to cutting edge, high-quality presentations. Some are very relevant to pediatric hospital medicine, and some presentations even offer free continuing medical education. Other hospitals do this, as well, but the Cincinnati site is the most user-friendly site I’ve found.”

Teaching Tools

Sylvia Cheney McKean, MD, medical director, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Faulkner Hospitalist Service in Boston and SHM board member, uses several resources for dual purposes: to find the latest clinical information and to enhance and support her teaching.

PubMed available at www.ncbi.nlm.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health administer the PubMed site, which includes more than 18 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles dating back to the 1950s. The site includes links to full text articles and other related resources.

“I find that most of my reading is through PubMed,” Dr. McKean says. “I get the latest, most up-to-date information. ... I generally proceed by first framing the question that needs to be answered and then looking for the best evidence. The key thing is to ask the right questions.”

American College of Physicians’ Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program (MKSAP) is available at mksap/14.

“I find the ACP’s MKSAP syllabus very helpful for teaching and remaining updated,” Dr. McKean explains. “People use this to study for their boards, but it’s very helpful to teach residents ... and for viewing clinical problems.”

The Journal of Hospital Medicine

“I look at each issue cover to cover,” Dr. McKean says, “because it’s the most relevant journal of any out there. It has new research, professional development articles, and articles based on the Core Competencies of Hospital Medicine.”

SHM online research rooms available at

“SHM provides valuable resources that are being regularly updated for new hospitalists, hospitalist leaders and practicing hospitalists with the Core Competencies in Hospital Medicine as a framework,” Dr. McKean says. “There are new resource rooms coming out all the time, while the old ones are constantly updated. What I find most valuable is the quality improvement primer, a downloadable workbook which crosses all QI topics and gives physicians who have not had training in QI projects a framework to start their own … in their hospital.” TH

Jane Jerrard is a medical writer based in Chicago. She also writes “Public Policy” for The Hospitalist.

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