NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—As HM10 wound down in this tony Washington, D.C., outpost, a trio of hospitalists from St. Louis smiled widely and brightly as a stranger took their picture in front of the main stage.
Each raved about the quality of the meeting they had just completed, particularly the way it linked HM leaders from across the country to such ubiquitous problems as transitional care and patient falls found in institutions from Seattle to Cincinnati to South Carolina. And with a record 2,500 hospitalists attending SHM’s annual meeting this year, what better time to smile?
—Lois Richard, MD, PhD, FHM, hospitalist, Washington University Physicians, St. Louis
“Your world suddenly becomes much smaller because you can reach out to people, rather than feel like you’re lost in this massive machine,” said Lois Richard, MD, PhD, FHM, a hospitalist with Washington University Physicians at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Dr. Richard’s commentary on belonging to a larger scene is a fitting allegory for the state of HM, as the field has grown beyond its neophyte stage. Now that the field has swelled to an estimated 30,000 nationwide, SHM’s new president said the time has come to move past the adolescent phase. Jeff Wiese, MD, FACP, SFHM, associate professor of medicine at Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, wants hospitalists to continue championing quality-improvement (QI) programs and patient-safety efforts.
“We’re at a stage as an organization that we need to continue to do the quality-education efforts, but we need to start rising to that next level, which is the quality execution and solutions,” he said during a keynote address, adding later that “we have great heterogeneity in the society. Some people are quality experts because they received great training from SHM, Intermountain Health, IHI, but then there are many members that are interested and really want to be that quality expert but are to the left on the continuum, still learning how to do it.”
The path to quality development began anew with the four-day meeting April 8-11 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on the banks of the Potomac River. The largest meeting in SHM history kicked off with its largest menu of pre-course sessions, designed to offer educational credits to CME-hungry physicians. This year’s choices included a pair of new sessions, one geared toward neurology and the other aimed at early-career hospitalists. The increased offerings worked, as SHM officials reported a preliminary pre-course attendance increase of 10% from last year’s meeting.
Another big draw for the meeting was the keynote address from Paul Levy, president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Levy has quickly built himself a national platform to push for QI in the nation’s hospitals, along with public reporting and transparency. Levy said “we still do too much harm in our hospitals,” but wants to see that improved not because of radical changes in payment streams, but because of physicians who want to do better by their patients.