A day in the life of a hospitalist is not spent in a vacuum. Every day in hospitals across the country, hospitalists coordinate patient care with a host of other physicians, caregivers, and administrators. One minute, a hospitalist could be managing a patient’s treatment with a physician assistant; the next minute, the hospitalist could be reviewing a diagnosis from a cardiologist. The same hospitalist might finish the shift by reporting valuable quality-improvement (QI) data to the hospital’s management staff.
It’s that kind of collaboration that is the hallmark of HM, so it makes sense that the same level of collaboration take place between SHM and a bevy of other healthcare-related organizations.
“The delivery of hospital-based care is a team sport,” says Joe Miller, SHM’s executive advisor to the CEO. “It requires coordination across disciplines, from clinical to managerial. Hospital medicine is in the middle of a complex system, and we can’t do it ourselves. If we’re going to be successful, we need to forge partnerships.”
Those partnerships have been critical to SHM’s ability to create educational programs and practice management resources. It also factors into SHM’s efforts to enhance patient satisfaction and advocate for QI in healthcare. The list of SHM’s partner organizations and joint projects is an alphabet soup that includes the nation’s most influential professional societies, academies, and government entities, each of which is working to improve the delivery of care to hospitalized patients.
Small Start, Quick Growth
The relationship between SHM and the American Medical Association (AMA) began as a simple research project and has grown into a deeper collaboration. In 2007, the AMA’s Organized Medical Staff Section (OMSS), the department that advocates on behalf of physicians who are members of medical staffs and other organizations, wanted to increase understanding of how hospitalists, primary-care physicians, and other physicians work together in the hospital setting. The association collaborated with SHM to conduct a survey and obtain feedback from hospitalists.
The 2007 survey found that there was still work to be done between the organizations, namely the need for a set of guiding principles for a successful hospitalist practice. OMSS, SHM, AHA, and the Joint Commission developed the principles, which were recently endorsed by OMSS at the association’s annual conference in June.
“We feel they’re appropriate and make sense,” says Jim DeNuccio, director of AMA’s Organized Medical Staff, Group Practice, and Senior Physician Services.
The 2007 survey and the principles for a hospitalist practice have led to a new survey, conducted this year, to track how the issues and challenges within a hospital have changed. The initiatives are just the beginning of a long-term relationship between SHM and AMA.