Society of Hospital Medicine Seeks to Connect Hospitalists Far and Wide


Hospitalists join SHM for lots of reasons, but the ability to network with hospitalists across the country is among the top motivators. In an emerging medical specialty, being able to collaborate and connect with peers is critical to career development and improving care.

Now, SHM has made connecting and collaborating easier than ever with Hospital Medicine Exchange (HMX), the first online community exclusively for hospitalists and hot topics in HM. Using HMX, hospitalists can start public discussions, post responses, and share files in one location.

For fast-moving issues, such as healthcare reform and hospitalist program management, HMX enables hospitalists to go straight to the source of some of the most important innovations: other hospitalists.

Using HMX is easy. Hospitalists log in to HMX using their SHM member username and password at HMXchange.org (automated assistance is available for those who don’t know their usernames or passwords). Once logged into HMX, hospitalists can browse communities, check out recent discussion threads, and update their profiles. Members can browse contacts to connect with thousands of other HMX users.

In addition to being the new home for conversations in hospital medicine, communities within HMX are replacing an array of legacy programs (e.g. the email listservs for practice management and SHM’s Leadership Academy alumni). HMX provides new flexibility not available in older systems like the listservs. Users can now opt into communities easily and decide how often they receive updates via email.


Some hospitalists began collaborating with the HMX platform nearly a year ago. At the time, the platform was known as Higher Logic and supported SHM’s CODE-H, an educational program for hospital coding, along with SHM’s Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Toolkit (HVBP), a set of online resources and a community for hospitalists preparing their hospitals for value-based purchasing.

Patrick Torcson, MD, MMM, FACP, SFHM, led the HVBP community and sees the promise that HMX offers hospitalists. “It’s a nice synthesis of both content and resources because of the networking element,” he says. “It has a very real personal element as well.”

The HVBP community used HMX as equal parts educational session, networking, and library. Dr. Torcson and community members presented webinars, then followed up with discussions. Community members also shared resources about value-based purchasing through the discussion threads and the online library.

The immediate online interaction proved to be especially valuable when discussing a topic that was anything but static, he says.

“Because hospital value-based purchasing was unfolding over a timeline from [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)], we were able to add content as the program unfolded, including policy papers from Washington, webinars, and other relevant information,” Dr. Torcson explains. “For something like value-based purchasing, there’s no definitive source, so the collaboration was helpful. It’s true for a lot of topics in hospital medicine.

“To have a community tool like this that can accommodate for all the different inputs is really very valuable,” he adds.

HMX is a nice synthesis of both content and resources because of the networking element. It has a very real personal element as well.

—Patrick Torcson, MD, MMM, FACP, SFHM, chair, SHM’s Performance Measuring and Reporting Committee

Something for Every Member

In addition to a community for general issues affecting hospitalists, HMX also features specific communities designed to facilitate conversations on particular issues. As the communities evolve and conversations develop, SHM will add new communities.

Because so many hospitalists access the Internet from mobile devices, HMX is available for iPhones, iPads, and Android platforms through a third-party mobile application. Instructions for downloading and using the app are available at the HMX website.

SHM notified certain listserv users and others about the HMX introduction in August and September. Users quickly took to the new platform. Within a week of introducing HMX, nearly 100 hospitalists logged in for the first time.

The early interest in HMX isn’t surprising to Dr. Torcson, who says he “definitely” will use HMX in the future.

“It’s a great way to share best practices and case studies,” he says. “The personal dimension was really nice to connect so easily with the hospital medicine community. It’s nice to get the perspectives from other colleagues around the country and in different settings.”

Brendon Shank is SHM’s associate vice president of communications.

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