As Canadian citizens clamor for more access to care, the government looks for ways to lower excessively long length of stays. Wait times for elective surgeries are unacceptable with some patients coming to the United States for surgery that they must then pay for themselves. The result is mounting pressure to move to models of care that are more efficient and less wasteful.
It is no wonder that physicians and health care planners from Japan, Canada, and around the world have viewed with great interest what hospitalists have accomplished in the American health care system. They recognize the potential of this relatively new model to decrease hospital length of stays, lower health care costs, and improve outcomes. After all, this is what the hospitalist model was invented to accomplish – to create value not through high production, but by improving the efficiency of care delivery, overall quality of care, and contributing to improved hospital operations.
As unrelenting economic forces continue to put pressure on health care systems worldwide, it will be fascinating to follow and continue assessing the impact of the hospitalist model in nations where it is implemented. That includes, of course, in the United States, where the model is still very young and continually evolving.
In the meantime, SHM will continue to learn about and work with our international partners. This certainly will be the focus of a special “Hospital Medicine in Japan” session at Hospital Medicine 2018 along with the International Special Interest Forum. And for the first time, we will also have an International Lounge where our international members can meet with each other and our American members to share ideas and enthusiasm for the future of our specialty.