GRAPEVINE, Texas—The president of the AMA told a packed house at HM11 this morning that pressure points on healthcare—physician shortages, rising medical school costs, and the impending addition of some 30 million-plus insured patients to the system – should spur doctors collaborate more to prevent mistakes and add efficiency.
And hospitalists can be right in the middle of it.
In an interview after his formal remarks, Cecil Wilson, MD, says that hospitalists are a key player, particularly in the workforce issues plaguing primary care physicians (PCP).
“Hospitalists are primary care physicians, the vast majority of them are general internists,” he says. “… so when we say that the number of people who are going into primary care, particularly general internal medicine, is reducing, that reduces not only the pool of physicians in the community, but also the hospitalist pool. We’re in that boat together.”
Dr. Wilson’s address, “A National Perspective for Hospitalists,” kicked off the official first day of SHM’s annual meeting with a global perspective of healthcare reform. The comments were followed by a detailed history of the healthcare debate that led to the Affordable Care Act last year, presented by Robert Kocher, MD, a former special assistant to President Obama and now the director of the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Kocher says hospitalists can help healthcare deal with the reforms in four broad ways: push hospitals to increase labor productivity, shift compensation models from “selling work RVUs to selling years of health,” use data to drive decision-making and use technology to lower delivery costs.
With hospitalists’ “understanding of clinical medicine in a patient … you’ll be able to help them solve problems they never even imagined.”