New SHM President Outlines “Next Evolution” of Hospitalist Practice


LAS VEGAS—Newly minted SHM President Burke Kealey, MD, SFHM, wants hospitalists to change how they look at health-care affordability, patient health, and the patient experience: He wants you to view them as one thing, not three.

“We put the energy and the effort of the moment behind the squeaky wheel,” Dr. Kealey said in his inaugural address Wednesday at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. “What I would like us to do is all start thinking about all three at the same time, and with equal weight at all times. To me, this is the next evolution of the hospitalist.”

Dr. Kealey, medical director of hospital specialties at HealthPartners Medical Group in St. Paul, Minn., borrowed the approach from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, whose “Triple Aim” initiative has the same goals. In his address, he told HM14 attendees that to focus on any of the three areas while giving short shrift to the others misses the point of bettering the overall health-care system.

“To improve health, but then people can’t afford that health care, is a nonstarter,” he said. “To make things finally affordable, but then people stay away because it’s a bad experience, makes no sense, either. We must do it all together.”

Dr. Kealey, who replaces Eric Howell, MD, SFHM, as president for the next year, says that as value-based purchasing further connects cost of care to the quality of delivery, hospitalists who link health, experience, and affordability will have success.

“This movement goes beyond just improving scores,” he says. “It improves the health of our patients.”

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