It’s been a while since I went to a buffet and stuffed myself silly, but that’s how my mind felt on the flight home from Kansas City, Mo. After four incredibly packed days at Pediatric Hospital Medicine (PHM) 2011, I was one “wafer-thin mint” away from an explosion. What I wanted was some kind of a mental digestif. What I got instead was a light beer. It helped a little bit, but when I awoke during the landing in Austin, Texas, I realized that I remained in need of a better way to distill the thousand points of information from the conference into something more manageable.
Buoyed by Michelle Marks and Joel Tieder’s Top 10 Articles of the Year luncheon, specifically the piece on neurosurgeons and Kangaroo Care, I thought I might try my own version of a decompressive operation.
Without further delay, here are the top 10 things that I learned at Pediatric Hospital Medicine 2011:
10. We continue to grow as a field. Although the exact number of pediatric hospitalists in the U.S. remains somewhat unclear (but is probably between 1,000 and 2,000), what is known is that attendance at our annual meeting grows every year. Our tripartite meeting, sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), SHM, and the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), hit a record 450 attendees this year. Beyond the physical numbers, it is quite clear that we are growing in many other domains as well.
9. It is time to re-evaluate the impact of CME on physician practice and outcomes. The literature on continuing professional education has been quite sobering to date, with nothing to show for the thousands of dollars spent per individual. But most of those studies were performed in the last century (think eight hours of lecture a day followed by dinners with big pharma) and I’ll bet that there was not the focus on learner-centered education that was evident in Kansas City.
With a dizzying array of workshops and interactive small group sessions spread amongst seven different tracks, it was difficult, if not impossible, to be a passive participant in the process. And since learning retention rates are generally proportionate to how active a role adults play in their own education, I am going to guess that many other attendees’ brains still have that “I’m thinking” hourglass icon over them. We have the conference planning committee to thank for this.
8. The JCPHM (Joint Council of Pediatric Hospital Medicine) will be increasingly important as we develop. Much like the constant stream of unfamiliar new vaccine names that have appeared in recent years, this proposed new committee comes with another long set of initials and an unfamiliar indication.
The JCPHM will function as a coordinating body, ensuring that work done through the AAP, SHM, and AAP are aligned to provide maximal benefit to pediatric hospitalists as a whole. And thus, similar to immunizations, the benefits will be most evident if we remain healthy as we grow in the context of an increasingly complex environment.
7. Our collective research accomplishments merit national recognition. It was not more than just a few years ago that we were in our research infancy. Posters at our meetings largely represented single-site descriptive studies, typically using survey methodology. This year we had four research breakout tracks, in addition to the plenary and three poster sessions.