Interview

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Wachter Relishes Opportunity to Guide Hospitalists


 

Robert Wachter, MD, MHM, has spoken at SHM’s annual meeting every year since 2003.

The opportunity to address 2,500 physician leaders in clinical work, education, and quality improvement—and the chance to suggest where they should be placing their emphasis—is incredibly special, Dr. Wachter says.

“It’s an amazing chance to try to influence the fastest-growing specialty in history,” says the professor, chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine, and chief of the medical service at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center.

“I like to think I have some small impact on the work they go out and do the next day, so it feels like a way of extending my own influence on this extraordinary field,” adds Dr. Wachter, a former SHM president and author of the blog Wachter’s World (www.wachtersworld.com). “That’s a great privilege.”

Dr. Wachter will speak at HM11 on Friday, May 13. The Hospitalist caught up with him to discuss some of his presentation.

We are able to attract the best leaders in the world to come speak, so the talent pool is unmatched. And the collegial exchange is fantastic.

Question: Why would you encourage hospitalists to attend HM11?

Answer: The content is great, and it is broad enough that it doesn’t matter whether you are coming to learn the latest ways to manage sepsis or the best ways to organize your program. We are able to attract the best leaders in the world to come speak, so the talent pool is unmatched. And the collegial exchange is fantastic. There’s as much important work that happens in the hallways as happens in the conference room.

Q: Bob Kocher, MD, a former special assistant to the president for healthcare and economic policy, will be a featured speaker this year. Why is it important for hospitalists to hear from him?

A: He was as important as any architect of the healthcare reform legislation. Because he left the White House, he can be open and honest about what’s working and not working. I think we need to understand what reform means, why it was organized the way it was, and where someone who was in the middle of that thinks it will go over time.

Q: What do you see as the legislation’s most significant impact on HM?

A: The dominant issue is, how do we create an environment, and a set of policy and payment initiatives, that incent and promote the delivery of the highest quality, safest, most satisfying care at the lowest cost? That’s not just within the silo we call a hospital but across the continuum of care. The bill takes that concept and puts it on steroids.

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