It’s unfortunate that medical organizations such as SHM do not have the equivalent of a national championship or a Super Bowl. If there was, given what SHM has accomplished in the past 13 years, there is no question that SHM would have won it.
So as my first act as SHM president, I hereby declare the Society of Hospital Medicine the national champions of physician organizations.
With that out of the way, now comes the hard part: because the only thing harder than winning a championship is keeping it. For with success comes the temptation to rest. The struggle to achieve success is about outward comparisons. But having achieved success, the perspective of the champion must shift if it is to be sustained. For in the mind of the champion, the perspective is internal, and the measure of competition is about besting oneself. For a champion such as SHM, future success will be measured solely upon an internal inventory of what we do well . . . and what could be done better. Allow me to make this more tangible.
Continued Growth and Inclusion
Our membership continues to grow. And with 10,000 members, it would be easy to rest. But given that there are 30,000 hospitalists, it would be convenient to ignore the question we have to answer: “Where are the other 20,000?”
Would they not benefit from our attention to quality and patient safety? SHM, like no other organization, has built an infrastructure of empowerment, particularly with respect to advancing the goals of quality and patient safety. It is not merely a self-serving goal to recruit these 20,000 hospitalists to SHM; in your heart, you have to believe that their time with SHM would improve the care of their patients. I am confident that Brian Curtis, Manoj Matthews, and their respective Membership and Chapter Support committees will be instrumental as we work toward this goal.
As we grow, for our colleagues in pediatrics, family medicine, the nonphysician providers, and practice administrators, will we make the right decision to maintain the “big tent” that has defined SHM’s success? Quality is quality, regardless of specialty, and the principles of improving a healthcare system that is safe and patient-centered apply to us all.
But as we continue to grow, sustaining the big tent will become increasingly difficult to maintain. Even so, it must remain our priority. Erin Stucky, Bob Harrington, Jeannette Kalupa, Ajay Kharbanda, and their respective teams will be central in preserving this important goal.
At HM10, our annual meeting, attendance topped out at more than 2,500 participants, and the quality of the programming has never been stronger. But there are new challenges that come with this success. Can we sustain the intimacy—the personal attention—necessary for networking and collaboration as the annual meeting continues to grow? There are homogenous messages that do, and will continue to, speak to us all.
But heterogeneity persists in hospitalist systems, and the ability to network with other hospitalists around these unique issues has been an incredibly valuable service of the national meeting. Yet as the meeting grows, it will become increasingly difficult to network hospitalists with similar needs. Preserving the intimacy of the annual meeting, despite its growing size, must be our goal. Dan Dressler, Jeff Glasheen, Mike Pistoria, and the Annual Meeting Committee will be tasked with finding creative solutions to achieving this goal.