When Society of Hospital Medicine president Brian Harte, MD, SFHM, made remarks last year as president-elect, he outlined four areas that call for attention and action.
On Tuesday, as the outgoing president making remarks at the opening plenary session, he traced the progress in those areas, while also airing some concerns as the society moves forward.
On the “absolute necessity” for SHM to reach out and connect with all practicing hospitalists, he reported that the society continued to expand its footprint, making contact with 50,000 hospitalists.
“SHM continues to be a strong professional organization,” Dr. Harte said, noting how the society cleared the 15,000 mark in membership last year. He also emphasized the “big tent” concept – making SHM the home for practitioners in many disciplines – and the importance of leadership.
“Sometimes it feels like everyone thinks of themselves as someone that we have to report to and therefore leadership development continues to be an important driver for our activities,” said Dr. Harte, president of Cleveland Clinic’s Akron General Hospital.
On the need to continue to focus on patient and family-centered care, he said, the curriculum at this meeting and past meetings shows a recognition of how important communication and empathy are.
“By doing so, we support a culture and environment wherein patients and families can actively participate in their care,” he said.
On being involved in shaping the changing healthcare landscape, the SHM board last fall held a retreat with hospitalist leaders to outline a framework for SHM to take advantage of members’ experience and expertise in this effort. The society is also working with the American College of Surgeons on designing an alternative payment model that could be more favorable for hospitals and hospitalists.
On the push for recognition of the hospitalist specialty, the new C6 Medicare billing code for hospitalists was a big step forward.
There are also some “things that keep me up at night,” he said.
“Having to prove our value continuously is absolutely essential, and it worries me that we may not always have this at the fore of our minds,” he said. Things that help him “get back to sleep,” he said, are the youthfulness and forward-thinking nature of hospitalists and the strength of the society.
“While respecting our past,” Dr. Harte said, “we can only be successful in moving forward if we refuse to be too beholden to it.”
President-elect Ron Greeno, MD, MHM, senior adviser for medical affairs at Team Health, in brief remarks, reminded the audience about how hospital medicine itself was a reform intended to deliver better care at lower prices, and that it therefore makes perfect sense for hospitalists to be involved in this latest wave of reform.
He made an enthusiastic call for more hospitalists to be involved.
“We need more – this is a big challenge,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to take more than us knowing how to take care of patients at the bedside. We have to get involved in designing the new delivery system if we’re going to make sure that we actually have a say in the kind of care that our patients get.”