NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.—
So the first-time meeting attendee decided she would jot down as many tips as she could. She quickly realized the trip was worth it, as she learned that a departmental dashboard is a relatively simple way to gather key information in one place. She also likes the idea of drawing up a brochure that tells patients what they can expect from their hospitalists—and perhaps vice versa. And what new HM group leader doesn’t want advice on building a schedule that adds individualized wrinkles to the “seven-on, seven-off” structure?
“It is a business and you need to treat it as if it’s a business,” Dlouhy said. “It’s an ongoing process, and you want to make sure you have a concrete foundation.”
The tidbits Dlouhy gleaned from her pre-course were among scores of nuggets discussed during eight of the accredited educational sessions. This year’s pre-courses boosted to a new high of 20 the number of Category 1 credits physicians could earn toward the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Physician Recognition Award. Last year, the total was 15.
Offering more classes—and more varied topics—worked pretty well, as this year’s slate of pre-courses was more popular than ever, according to SHM officials. At HM09 in Chicago, more than 800 attendees participated in six sessions. At HM10, the total attendance was roughly 10% higher.
A main driver of the growth was the addition of two new courses—“Essential Neurology for the Hospitalist” and “Early Career Hospitalist: Skills for Success.” Another was a packed room of hospitalists answering questions—some right, some wrong—and preparing for the new Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine (FPHM) via the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC). The learning session pre-course debuted last year, but the new HM pathway to board recertification helped push attendance higher this year.
“The nice thing about the audience-response system is that you can actually see that not everybody is always going straight to the right answer on all of the questions,” said Julius Yang, MD, PhD, a hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the MOC course director. “It’s really serving as an important refresher of our medical knowledge base.”
Dr. Yang said the “mini-retreat” environment of an annual convention is the perfect place to focus on granular professional development. “Trying to do these types of MOCs when you’re working to keep current with all of your other duties, you don’t get as much out of it,” Dr. Yang said. “Here, you get it all.”
—Troy Ahlstrom, MD, FHM, Hospitalists of Northwest Michigan, Traverse City
He adds that those physicians who take the time and spend the money to travel for an educational session tend to be very focused on taking advantage of the program, not just showing up to be counted.
“All of these [questions] are very much directed at growing as a hospitalist,” Dr. Yang said. “It’s a different focus than the rest of the meeting. This is about every individual bringing something back to their institution.”