The Future Is Here


The hospital of the future will be smaller and more focused in its clinical care, and it will compete with cutting-edge technology available to patients in their homes, their shopping haunts, and their pharmacies, Narendra Kini, MD, MHA, said today during the pediatric keynote address at HM09 in Chicago.

Dr. Kini, president and CEO of Miami Children's Hospital, says changes affecting hospitalists—such as the automation of routine chores performed by hospitalists and the growth of retail clinics—might be just "whispers" now, but they likely will force fundamental changes in how pediatricians deliver care. And while the individual technologies might not seem like a paradigm shift, new products and procedures like Google Health will create better-educated patients who demand to be partners in their clinical decisions, Dr. Kini adds.

"The technology is irrelevant. What it is is the trends," Dr. Kini says. "When the market demands it, it is here to stay."

But electronic medical records (EMR) and other IT upgrades cost money that many children's hospitals simply don't have in today's economy, says Jeff Bennett, MD, FAAP, FHM, of Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington, Ky. "There's a huge cost attached," Dr. Bennett says. "We're talking about massive outlays of money."

Dr. Kini says he understands limitations and doesn't expect pediatric hospitalists or their institutions to adapt immediately. But he wants pediatric HM leaders to start looking at the next 10 years of industry growth to ensure they chart a growth curve.

"You're letting others dictate the parameters of your profession," Dr. Kini says. "You can't let government and payors do that. What does hospital medicine want to be in 2015? You should be answering that now."

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