—Danielle Scheurer, MD, MSCR, SFHM, physician editor, The Hospitalist
There has always been a journalist dwelling in Danielle Scheurer, MD, MSCR, SFHM. As an undergrad at Emory University, she saw TV reporting in her future.
“I was on the Katie Couric kick for a decade,” she says.
Her course eventually shifted—dramatically. But since she became a hospitalist, Dr. Scheurer, now the chief quality officer at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, has stayed involved with a long slate of editorial projects.
Her latest: She is the new physician editor of The Hospitalist. With the appointment, the magazine gains a high-energy physician with a broad spectrum of knowledge. Colleagues say she has a knack for seeing the big picture and taking a bolus of information and conveying its relevance to hospitalists and other medical professionals.
Dr. Scheurer says that one of her aims will be to make the publication’s website—www.the-hospitalist.org—more interactive, allowing for more direct participation from readers, such as with polls and forums on topics covered.
“A lot of us in the hospital sort of struggle with the exact same things,” she says. “I think there’s some value in connecting, even if it’s in just short little snippets.”
She also would like to increase the website’s use of audio files so that doctors have more options in how they get their information.
But above all, she says, she wants to keep The Hospitalist “one of the most practical publications available to hospitalists,” a publication that is specifically tailored to deliver useful messages.
“I feel like it’s a very high-yield publication for really busy hospitalists,” she says.
Career Shuffle = Diverse Experience
Dr. Scheurer brings experience from a variety of settings, such as the small community hospital Trident Medical Center in Charleston to the large, urban medical centers that are Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and MUSC.
She said some of her career moves came with some apprehension, including those that came about when her husband got a position that required her to move, too. But she says she has benefited from those experiences. Trident “gave me a window into hospital medicine that I never otherwise would have had,” she notes.
She never anticipated moving to Boston, and she admits it felt outside of her “comfort zone.” But in 2005, she found herself at Brigham. She had just earned a master’s degree in clinical research and thought she’d end up being a researcher. In Boston, she got a glimpse of what it meant to be a “hard-core, NIH-funded researcher” and decided it wasn’t for her.
While there, she took training courses in leadership and quality improvement. And QI stuck.
In 2010, she returned to MUSC and now leads QI for the whole hospital, a medium-size setting that she says is just right for promoting change.
“This is definitely my sweet spot,” she says. “If you’re going to change people’s minds, it’s a lot easer to change 200 people’s minds than 450 people’s minds.”
Chris Roy, MD, medical director of the hospitalist service at Brigham, says Dr. Scheurer was “one of the most-hard working people that I knew” and a strong leader with an “uncanny, almost photographic memory of all the hospital medicine literature.”
“Even though she was very forceful as a leader, she never irritated anyone,” he adds. “She was very skillful in managing people.”
Chris Rees, the director of quality and patient safety at MUSC, says Dr. Scheurer is adept at taking issues that evolve from the hospital and collaborating on them with other university departments. She is good at putting herself in other groups’ shoes and delivering messages succinctly, he says.
“She’s definitely not seen as just one of those white coats,” Rees says.
On top of her QI projects, Dr. Scheurer is involved as an advisor, contributor, or reviewer at 11 other publications or online venues. The Hospitalist will make it an even dozen.
“She’s just a dynamo,” Rees says. “She walks around with her MacAir book and she’s constantly writing stuff on it and sending out emails.”
Patrick Cawley, MD, MBA, MHM, the chief medical officer at MUSC who hired Dr. Scheurer when she first worked there in 2003, has seen her move from small projects to systemwide efforts.
“She did a great job and is very collaborative, very knowledgeable, [and] brings an evidence-based approach to problems,” says Dr. Cawley, a past president of SHM and recent inductee as a Master in Hospital Medicine (MHM).
She is quick to notice trends and patterns, he points out. “She’s very knowledgeable about what’s going on in the hospitalist arena,” he says, adding he anticipates she’ll be interested in “data-driven” coverage, along with QI topics.
Dr. Scheurer’s interest in disseminating information shouldn’t be a surprise—it’s a fundamental part of QI and instrumental in systemwide change. She finds it “appealing to work on a project and know that it’s going to affect the next 20,000 patients.”
“There’s no one single person that can ensure that the patient gets all of their needs met,” she says. “There has to be a system approach.”
At The Hospitalist, she will try to keep pace with all the change that hospitals are constantly trying to navigate.
“I don’t think there will ever be a deficiency of content to cover,” she says. “Something’s always brand-new.”
Tom Collins is a freelance writer in Florida.