With thousands of hospitalists returning to work after the whirlwind that was HM09, many are contemplating lessons learned from the meeting. Here are a couple of interesting reads:
A Loss for Patients?
John Nelson, MD, FHM, FACP, a principal in the national hospitalist practice management consulting firm Nelson/Flores Associates and a columnist for The Hospitalist, says the annual meeting made him reminisce about how many hospitalists have given up full-time patient care since he and Winthrop F. Whitcomb, MD, FHM, a hospitalist at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., founded the society in 1996.
“The longtime regulars were full-time patient caregivers way back when but now have other roles and now see patients only part of their time or not at all,” he writes in "The Hospitalist Leader" blog. “For a variety of reasons, these people have taken on roles other than patient care. I’m in that category, too, since I currently provide direct patient care only about 30% as much as the full-time hospitalists in the practice I’m in.”
Dr. Nelson says he worries patients are losing out on the unique, patient-centered care that hospitalists provide. "Hopefully, in their administrative roles, these hospitalists can do good things for even more patients than they could through bedside care," he writes. "We just need to make sure we aren't sucking the best doctors away from patient care simply because we've failed to create a sustainable and rewarding career in patient care."
HM09 seems to have affirmed the career choice of "The Hospitalist Refugee", a hospitalist who blogs in the rural Midwest.
"While my current job is decidedly NOT where I want to practice (geographically or operationally), hospitalist medicine IS the environment I want to stay in," he writes. "I'm hopeful that when it comes time for me to find the next hospitalist job, our profession will have matured (with hopefully the leadership of SHM) enough that there is consistency and stability in the market."
Team Hospitalist member Randy Ferrance, DC, MD, FHM, was thoroughly impressed with the HM09 effort. Dr. Ferrance, a hospitalist at Riverside Tappahanock Hospital, a rural, 67-bed facility in Tappahannock, Va., offered his thoughts on the "HM09" blog.
"The sheer breadth and width of talent that SHM manages to attract—both in lecturers and attendees—is nothing short of impressive. This morning I was able to catch up on practice management ("What Have You Done for Me Lately") and medical management ("Heme/Onc Emergencies/Urgencies and Updates in Diagnosis and Management of CAD"), and soon I'll hear from Bob Wachter on managing accountability in a no-blame environment."