From continued membership growth to increased visibility in the national media, SHM and its members have been influencing healthcare for more than a decade. But even by the highest of standards, 2009 has been a landmark year—one that demonstrated hospitalists’ collective ability to transform healthcare and improve care to the hospitalized patient.
“The momentum of the hospital medicine movement has been growing for years, and 2009 has been no exception,” says Scott Flanders, MD, FHM, president of SHM. “This year built on the successes of the past and plainly illustrated the impact that hospital medicine will have on the future of healthcare.”
Groundbreaking QI Programs Go Nationwide
This year, SHM and its members began to tackle some of the most pressing QI issues in healthcare: reducing readmissions to the hospital and glycemic control. New research in the New England Journal of Medicine couldn’t have made the need for reducing readmissions any clearer: Unplanned hospital readmissions cost Medicare $17.4 billion annually.1
SHM’s Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older Adults through Safe Transitions) helps hospitals implement customized programs to reduce readmissions through improved discharge processes. Hospitalists who enroll in the yearlong program take advantage of a one-on-one mentorship arrangement with experts in the field. Participants can also access the Project BOOST resource toolkit.
Project BOOST began in six pilot hospital sites in 2008 and added 24 new sites in March 2009. The program’s leaders are looking forward to further expansion in 2010. “The response to Project BOOST has been overwhelmingly positive. Given today’s healthcare climate, we know its impact will be even greater in years to come,” says Jane Kelly-Cummings, RN, CPHQ, SHM’s senior director of quality initiatives. “There is a very serious need to improve discharge processes in hospitals across the country. With Project BOOST, hospitalists are taking the initiative to ensure a smooth transition from hospital to home.”
SHM also launched the Glycemic Control Mentored Implementation (GCMI) program. Like Project BOOST, GCMI uses a combination of one-on-one mentorships and customized resources to assist hospitalists with QI program implementation.
GCMI takes on another common chronic issue hospitalists face daily: managing glycemic levels in hospitalized patients. The GCMI program is currently in 30 sites across the country.
—Jane Kelly-Cummings, RN, CPHQ, SHM’s senior director of quality initiatives
HM09 Draws Capacity Crowd in Chicago
In an economic climate that forced many industries’ annual meetings to be canceled, delayed, or scaled back, Hospital Medicine 2009 (HM09) in Chicago exceeded expectations. SHM had expected about 1,500 participants in the annual conference; organizers were pleasantly surprised to receive more than 2,000 registrations for the May event. The demand for exhibition space also surpassed projections.
“We’ve long known that hospitalists see real value in a meeting specifically designed for them, with relevant educational sessions and plenty of time for networking,” says Geri Barnes, SHM’s senior director of education and meetings. “Each year, we’ve received more and more interest in the annual conference, but the response to our 2009 conference was unprecedented.”
HM10 is April 8-11 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
SHM, MGMA Form Research Partnership
Beginning in 2010, SHM and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) will team up to give hospitalists and healthcare executives an even clearer picture on hospitalist compensation and productivity.
Prior to the partnership, SHM had conducted its own research. Now, hospitals and HM managers will have new data at their fingertips, and additional analysis and name-brand recognition of one of the leaders in medical practice research. The first round of research will be available in summer 2010. SHM and MGMA already have collaborated on educational webinars for hospitalists, and SHM is offering books published by MGMA on its Web site.
“This new alliance will pay dividends for years to come,” says Leslie Flores, the director of SHM’s Practice Management Institute. “The information from our compensation and productivity surveys has always been valuable to hospitals. Having the MGMA name attached to next year’s product will only increase its significance and usefulness.”
Hospitalists will receive the joint survey questionnaire from SHM and MGMA in January.
Three letters can mean a lot, especially for hospitalists looking for ways to demonstrate their commitment to the specialty. This year was the first in which qualified hospitalists could earn the Fellow in Hospital Medicine (FHM) designation. The first class of more than 500 FHM designees was introduced in an on-stage ceremony at HM09.
“This is a special way for SHM—and the healthcare industry as a whole—to recognize the unique achievements and dedication that hospital medicine requires,” says Todd Von Deak, MBA, CAE, SHM’s vice president for marketing and membership. “As the specialty grows in number and influence, so will the fellows program.”
In 2010, SHM will induct the first class of Senior Fellows in Hospital Medicine (SFHM). While the process for applying for the senior designation will be similar to the FHM designation, the SFHM will require additional years of practice and leadership in the specialty.
The fellows program also features the Master in Hospital Medicine (MHM) designation, the highest level of recognition available. The MHM will be available in 2011, and the nomination process will be invitation-only.
SHM isn’t the only group recognizing the impact hospitalists are making on healthcare. In September, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced that hospitalists will be able to apply for Recognition of Focused Practice (RFP) in Hospital Medicine as part of ABIM’s maintenance of certification (MOC) program. The application process will be available as early as next month.
SHM will be assisting hospitalists in the application process through online resources and the MOC pre-course, which will be offered before HM10. Hospitalists with three years of experience in the field can apply for the RFP program. Although most physicians are required to recertify every 10 years, hospitalists won’t have to wait until their certification is up to apply for focused recognition. For more information about the RFP in HM program, visit www.abim.org.
Treating hospitalized patients has always been a team sport. From caseworkers and pharmacists to physicians and critical-care nurses, the diverse and specialized needs of hospital care demand collaboration and coordination.
That’s the idea behind the Hospital Care Collaborative (HCC), which convened for the first time in 2009. The group is made up of six national organizations that represent hundreds of thousands of care providers. The HCC has developed and published “Common Principles for Team-Based Healthcare.” The principles emphasize the need for teamwork within the hospital setting and a focus on the patient.
As part of its goals for the future, the HCC will identify best practices in teamwork and promote educational programs that encourage interdisciplinary teams.
Look Back, Look Forward
For SHM CEO Larry Wellikson, MD, FHM, the end of 2009 is an opportunity to look forward to 2010 and beyond. “Ten years ago, hospital medicine was little more than an idea,” he says. “Today, it is a growing medical specialty, recognized by leaders in healthcare and public policy, with thousands of experienced and enthusiastic hospitalists throughout the country.
“I am confident that when we look back ten years from now, we will see a hospital landscape transformed for the better, and that hospitalists and the rest of the new healthcare team will have played an important role.” TH
Brendon Shank is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia.
- Jencks SF, Williams MV, Coleman A. Rehospitaliza- tions among patients in the Medicare fee-for-service program. N Engl J Med. 2009;360(14):1418-1428.