Jeff Glasheen, MD, SFHM, has been going to SHM’s annual meetings for a decade. He’s played the part of poster presenter, session leader, physician editor of The Hospitalist, and even just a healthcare consumer eager to hear what a keynote speaker has to say.
This year, he’s added a new title: HM12 course director. The sobriquet has given him a new appreciation for the work that goes into the four-day summit, April 1-4 at the San Diego Convention Center.
“It’s been a great experience to see how much work really goes into these meetings behind the scenes and how thoughtful people are to try to program content that all different types of hospitalists would be interested in,” says Dr. Glasheen, associate professor of medicine and director of the hospital medicine group at the University of Colorado Denver. “Trying to target enough stuff so that it’s meaningful for everybody ends up being incredibly challenging.”
The challenge is important because continuing medical education (CME) arguably is the biggest draw for the annual meeting. From pre-courses offering Category 1 credits toward the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award to rapid-fire sessions offering “Jeopardy!”-like chances to test current knowledge, a majority of past attendees say CME and pedagogy keep them coming back.
“It’s one of the top reasons people come, and it should be,” Dr. Glasheen adds. “This is the opportunity for people to come and hear new ideas. And I don’t mean that just in terms of clinical medicine, but also nonclinical medicine. This is our opportunity to pull ourselves out of the weeds … and really get a sense of what’s coming down the pike.”
Dr. Glasheen and assistant course director Michael Pistoria, DO, FACP, SFHM, say the goals of each year’s offerings are to keep things current and user-friendly.
—Jeff Glasheen, MD, SFHM, HM12 course director
Take “How to Improve Performance in CMS’s Value-Based Purchasing Program,” a debut pre-course designed as a primer for the new VBP rules going into effect Oct. 1. The session is led by SHM’s senior vice president and chief solutions officer Joseph Miller and Patrick Torcson, MD, MMM, FACP, SFHM, director of hospital medicine at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington, La. The new pre-course joins the now well-established American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) course as one of the sessions that, although they didn’t exist a few years ago, are viewed as crucial to the specialty’s future development.
“It’s the natural evolution of what hospitalists do,” Dr. Glasheen says. “If we went back to the first year of this meeting, it was primarily a clinical meeting. But I think over time, just as my role as a hospitalist has evolved over 10 years, so has the society’s annual meeting. Yes, we have the clinical core that everybody needs. But there’s a lot of other stuff that’s happening in the world around us—including healthcare policy, payment reform—and we need to know about those things.”
Constant change to the HM12 course menu keeps things fresh, says Dr. Pistoria, HM13’s course director, who works at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pa. “Quite frankly, it allows us to some degree to keep the faculty fresh as well,” he says. “If you give them a year off, they come back fully charged with new ideas. Even if it’s the same information, maybe they’ve got some new ideas of how to present it.”
Another area where the importance of the meeting’s educational offerings becomes self-evident is the Research, Innovations, and Clinical Vignettes (RIV) poster competition. The popularity of the competition continues to grow; the review committee was deluged with 200 more submissions for HM12 than for HM11. Organizers felt that was too many posters to give attendees enough quality time with their presenters, so the session has been expanded and broken up into two sessions—one for Research and Innovations (Monday, April 2, 5-7 p.m.), and one for Vignettes (Tuesday, April 3, noon-1:30 p.m.).
“It speaks to the fact that academic hospital medicine is really growing up,” Dr. Glasheen says. “Ten years ago, we were all just trying to get enough docs to take care of patients. Now we’re getting to the point where academic hospitalists really can develop a career as a scholar and a researcher.”
An educational twist to this year’s meeting is an approach called “Pathways.” The tack is an online map of interrelated courses that may appear in different categorical tracks. For example, the “pathway” highlights for attendees how they can find sessions devoted to early-career hospitalist issues, palliative care, or transitions of care. So if two people from one institution wanted to break up the sessions by a topic, they now have an easier way.
“It affords people the opportunity to plan,” Dr. Pistoria says. “And again, it keeps us fresh. As the annual meeting committee, we’re constantly looking: What can we do what can we do differently? What can we do better?”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.