Challenges Ahead, Ongoing
How does this apply to hospital medicine? These are challenging times for hospitalists. American healthcare costs too much, and some people are saying hospitalists are part of the problem. Hospitalists are discharging more patients than ever from our nation’s hospitals, and more patients than ever are finding themselves readmitted within 30 days. Quality and process improvement is the mantra in healthcare today, and too many hospitalists have little understanding of what is necessary to participate in quality and process improvement.
Steve Jobs got fired from the company he created. Could hospitalists be removed from the program they started? Jobs was right. Challenges create opportunity. What are the opportunities in HM today? Take a lesson from the iPhone: Give them what they need when they need it.
For example, why do so many hospitalist programs staff in-house only during daytime hours? Patients don’t become acutely ill only during the day. Most of us will be hospitalized at some point in our lives. Will there be a hospitalist to see you when you are short of breath or having chest pain? Hospitalists need to be in house 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing care when patients need it. I know that we don’t have enough money to pay for this and we don’t have enough hospitalists to staff 24/7, but that is the innovation part. I can assure you that while the iPhone is easy for the end-user, an incredible amount of infrastructure had to be created in order to support that easy-to-use experience for the consumer. Jobs and Apple overcame hurdles to create the iPhone. It’s our job to overcome the hurdles to provide safe, timely, and high-value care for our patients.
Steve Jobs’ legacy is Apple.
What is your legacy?
A Call for Research
Most of you are aware that Jobs died from pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. This is a relatively rare disease, which is in dire need of additional research. Patients with rare diseases find themselves in the difficult position of trying to understand why little is being done to help them.
I, unfortunately, know something about this, as someone very close to me has this disease. Research requires funding. One way to honor Jobs’ legacy is to support pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer research. One organization I have personally supported is the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation. This foundation has contributed millions of dollars toward carcinoid and neuroendocrine tumor research.
If you want to learn more about the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation, visit www.caringforcarcinoid.org.
Dr. Li is president of SHM.