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Hospitalist Anand Kartha Tackles Array of Hospital Medicine Duties


Full Metal Hospitalist

He doesn’t own a single Apple product. He hasn’t had a chance but can’t wait to watch “Zero Dark Thirty,” the docudrama that details the black ops mission to kill Osama bin Laden. And he doesn’t know what he’d do if he wasn’t a hospitalist.

A well-rounded hospitalist, that is.

Anand Kartha, MD, MS, is as engaged as hospital-based physicians come, working in the academic, research, community, and Veterans Affairs settings.

He studied at the University of Bombay in his native India, completing a four-year residency there before working as a resident and chief resident at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy. He went on to complete a general medicine fellowship at Boston University and, in 2005, earned a Master of Science in Health Services Research at Boston University.

Currently, he is an academic hospitalist at the Boston VA and associate chief of general internal medicine. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and a lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Kartha has been published a half dozen times and presented scientific abstract posters at HM12 in San Diego, HM10 in Washington, D.C., and HM09 in Chicago. He’s on the patient safety, systems redesign, professional standards, and peer review committees at the VA Boston Healthcare System. In 2007, he received the David Littmann Award for Excellence in Patient Care and Education from VA Boston and, in 2011, received the Robert Dawson Evans Faculty Special Recognition Teaching Award from Boston University.

“I spend about 15% to 20% of my time in research and 20% of my time in education, both focused on quality and patient safety,” says Dr. Kartha, one of nine new members of Team Hospitalist, the volunteer editorial advisory group for The Hospitalist. “For example, I am part of a national study to look at the quality of inpatient medicine care in the VA. I started and run a curriculum/rotation for medicine residents on quality and safety. I have held a number of leadership roles, like associate chief of medicine for quality and performance. I also enjoy working with system engineers on a number of QI projects.”

Working as a team and teaching residents and students are both very rewarding. As an academic hospitalist, I have flexible work hours that give me time to pursue both clinical and other opportunities too.

–Dr. Kartha

Question: Why did you choose a career in medicine?

A: Peer pressure; an interest in biology; desire to make a direct difference in people’s lives.

Q: When did you decide to become a hospitalist?

A: About 10 years ago. My research, clinical, and educational goals all overlapped in the inpatient arena and it was a natural progression.

Q: What do you like most about working as a hospitalist?

A: Working as a team and teaching residents and students are both very rewarding. As an academic hospitalist, I have flexible work hours that give me time to pursue both clinical and other opportunities too.

Q: What’s the best advice you ever received?

A: Don’t be the first to adopt a new treatment, but don’t be the last.

Q: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in hospital medicine in your career?

A: Explosive growth. I never anticipated it would get to be so big, so fast.

Q: What is your biggest professional challenge?

A: Finding adequate mentorship and statistical support to do research and publish papers.

Q: What is your biggest professional reward?

A: Seeing my patients get better, watching my students get excited by medicine, and the success of my mentees.

Q: When you aren’t working, what is important to you?

A: Like most people, my family and health.

Q: What’s next professionally?

A: I have considered academic and medical industry leadership roles, but I see myself probably spending more time formally in inpatient clinical education.

Q: If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be doing right now?

A: I couldn’t do anything else. No skills, no interest—and I love what I do.

Q: What’s the best book you’ve read recently? Why?

A: “Sweet Tooth” by Ian McEwan. Pure entertainment.

Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.

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