Scrounging for information that could help her with quality improvement (Q.I.) projects, Charmaine Lewis, MD, MPH, the quality director with New Hanover Hospitalists in Wilmington, N.C., said she finds herself reviewing posters at the Annual Meeting and squinting at the images to see whether the electronic health records involved match the system she uses back home.
There’s got to be a better way.
So Dr. Lewis and about two dozen other hospitalists came to the Special Interest Forum to speak with Society of Hospital Medicine leaders in an informal discussion about the best ways to exchange information and to get support with Q.I. at their centers.
Mangla Gulati, MD, SFHM, associate professor of medicine and chief quality officer at the University of Maryland, and Jenna Goldstein, director of SHM’s Center for Hospital Innovation and Improvement, led what grew into a lively, thoughtful discussion about ways for hospitalists to exchange information and to get support with Q.I. efforts at their centers.
The hospitalists who attended brought their experiences and their questions from a diverse range of centers, from Anchorage, Alaska, to southern California to Poughkeepsie, New York. They emphasized the need for easier access to initiatives that mirror what they are trying to do at their own centers, for more mentoring opportunities, and for more SHM chapters outside major metropolitan areas to help with networking. And they offered lessons on what they have already learned.
Remus Popa, MD, FHM, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, Riverside, who has led Q.I. projects on the use of telemetry, said a successful project will likely be more than an idea that blooms inside the head of a hospitalist.
“We have to find something that the institution really needs,” Dr. Popa said. “You have to design a better fit with them. Otherwise, it’s going to be a tough conversation about resources, right?”
Esther Lee, MD, a hospitalist in Anchorage, Alaska, asked whether it might be possible for SHM to host a “mini-conference” specifically on quality improvement. At the Annual Meeting, she said, she often finds herself torn between attending Q.I. sessions and sessions on clinical topics.
SHM’s Goldstein said it was a possibility.
“It is something that we have talked about and will continue to talk about,” she said.
David Lucier, MD, MBA, MPH, Director of Quality and Safety for Hospital Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that emphasizing the safety aspect of a project can often help push it along.
“I find these [types of projects] to be quite compelling, at least in reordering the priority list,” he said.
Ms. Goldstein said the suggestions were helpful in SHM’s goal of creating a “culture of ‘quality enthusiasts.’”
“We want to be the home for quality for hospitalists,” she said. “So this input is really helpful for all of us in here.”