HM17’s ‘must-see sessions’

11 editorial board recommendations for precourses, breakout sessions, and workshops


— Not to sound like a Sin City come on, but pick a course, any course.

No, seriously.

Hospitalists and other attendees at the Hospitalist Medicine 2017 meeting next month will do well to figure out what sessions they want to attend before arriving at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. This 4-day Super Bowl of hospital medicine prides itself on offering more than any attendee can find time for. This year is no exception, as the annual meeting has added five new educational tracks: High-Value Care, Clinical Updates, Health Policy, Diagnostic Reasoning, and Medical Education.

“The committee that plans this meeting is from a wide representation of the entire hospitalist community. The [goal] is to say, ‘Hey, what are you guys struggling with? What’s out there? What are people working on. What’s new?’ ” said Kathleen Finn, MD, FHM, assistant course director for HM17 and a hospitalist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “We really bring to the forefront what everybody is learning about and [is] new.”

The committee does its job to fill the meeting with best-in-class educational sessions. Here are some of the group’s recommendations for this year’s meeting:

1. “The Hospitalist’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic” – Tuesday, May 2; 1:35 p.m.–2:35 p.m.

2. “Opioids for Acute Pain Management in the Seriously Ill – How to Safely Prescribe” – Wednesday, May 3; 2:50 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

3. “Non-opiate Pain Management for the Hospitalist” – Wednesday, May 3; 4:20 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Elizabeth Cook, MD, medical director of the hospitalist division of Medical Associates of Central Virginia in Lynchburg, said, “The historical emphasis on pain control has helped contributed to the current epidemic of opioid abuse, overdoses, and deaths. Hospitalists have a need to use these medications for care of the hospitalized patient but have an important part to play in leading the way to appropriate use and patient education regarding the dangers of these medications. These sessions will provide hospitalists with some tools to use in beginning to effect a shift in pain management strategies and responsible use of narcotic pain medications.”

Miguel Angel Villagra, MD, FACP, FHM, hospitalist department program medical director at White River Medical Center in Batesville, Ark., said, “As primary front-line providers in the acute care setting, we face the everyday struggles in the management of chronic opioid users. Acquiring some general guidelines can help us tailor our approach within an ethical focus to improve the care of this population.”

Sarah Stella, MD, an academic hospitalist at Denver Health, said, “This is a crucial and timely topic. Hospitalists have had a hand in perpetuating the opioid epidemic and can play an important role in helping to end it. In this regard, there are many opportunities to do good, such as judicious prescribing and tapering medications for acute pain, starting eligible patients on Suboxone [buprenorphine] in-house, and arranging substance abuse treatment follow-up.”

4. “Focus on POCUS - Introduction to Point-of-Care Ultrasound for Pediatric Hospitalists” – Tuesday, May 2; 10:35 a.m.–11:35 a.m.

Dr. Weijen Chang

Dr. Weijen Chang

5. “Things We Do for No Reason in Pediatrics” – Wednesday, May 3; 11 a.m.–noon

Weijen Chang, MD, SFHM, FAAP, chief of the division of pediatric hospital medicine, Baystate Medical Center/Baystate Children’s Hospital, Springfield, Mass., said, “This is the first pediatric POCUS session offered at SHM ever. And it does not require an additional cost ... the pediatric track is critically important, as a substantial number of athlete attendees are either Peds or MedPeds. I think SHM aims to create a pediatric track that discusses topics that are less covered in other meetings, such as the value equation and issues facing women leaders in HM.”

6. “Foundations of a Hospital Medicine Telemedicine Program” – Wednesday, May 3; 415 p.m.–5:20 p.m.

Dr. Villagra added, “Telemedicine is a new innovative technology with the promise of overcoming geographical barriers to health care providers. A lot of new companies and software development has made this technology more user/patient friendly.”

7. “Hot Topics in Health Policy for Hospitalists” – Thursday, May 4; 7:40 a.m.–8:35 a.m.

8. “The Impact of the New Administration on Health Care Reform” – Thursday, May 4; 8:45 a.m.–9:40 a.m.

9. “Health Care Payment Reform for Hospitalist 2017: Tips for MIPS and Beyond” – Thursday, May 4; 9:50 a.m.–10:45 a.m.

Dr. Stella said, “As a safety-net hospitalist in Colorado, a state which largely expanded Medicare under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I am concerned about the impact repealing the ACA would have on my patients as well as on safety-net hospitals such as my own. I hope that these sessions will increase my understanding of the issues and my ability to advocate for my patients.”

Dr. Cook said, “The U.S. government is functioning in historically unprecedented ways with major shifts in health care policy expected to occur over the next 4 years. It is essential that physician leaders play an active role in shaping the discussion around these important topics ... hospitalists have an opportunity to provide leadership in this arena, and these sessions will help participants to build the knowledge about these complex issues that is crucial to being an active part of the dialogue.”

10. “Workshop: Hospitalists as Leaders in Patient Flow and Hospital Throughput” – Thursday, May 4; 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Dr. Stella said, “Recently, I was appointed to a leadership role on a major initiative to improve hospital patient flow at my institution. We are concentrating on several different areas, including avoidable hospitalizations, preventable excess days, delayed discharges, and variable access to services. I was excited to see a workshop this year dedicated to how hospitalists can successfully lead such initiatives. I will definitely be attending this session as I am interested in what others are doing in their institutions to creatively overcome patient flow challenges.”

11. “Hospitalist Careers: So Many Options” – Tuesday, May 2; 10:35 a.m.–11:15 a.m.

Dr. Villagra said, “Hospital medicine has so many pathways for a full career development and is not a pit stop before fellowship. Early- and mid-career hospitalists can benefit from interactions with senior hospitalists for the understanding of what hospital medicine has to offer for their professional growth.”

Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.

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