Practice Management

Embracing constant change in a growing practice


Although many physicians resist change, learning how to embrace change and making it work for you are keys to a long, successful practice in hospital medicine, said Thomas McIlraith, MD, SFHM, CLHM, immediate past chairman, department of hospital medicine, and immediate past treasurer of the board of directors of Mercy Medical Group in Sacramento, Calif.

Dr. Thomas McIraith, immediate past chairman, department of hospital medicine, and immediate past treasurer of the board of directors of Mercy Medical Group, Sacramento, Calif.

Dr. Thomas McIlraith

During his Monday, April 9, session, “Scaling Up Your Hospital Medicine Group,” he will share what it was like to work through significant changes as the chair of a department that grew in 12 years from 12 hospitalists – averaging fewer than 100 patients per day – to 84 hospitalists averaging more than 500 patients per day.

“I will be discussing my experiences but relating some universal truths about leadership in hospital medicine that can be applied to all areas of hospital medicine and how to manage change in an environment where change is constant,” said Dr. McIlraith, who will share key lessons that he learned. “I will break it down into the cultural, personal, and structural aspects of thriving in this dynamic environment.”

Dr. McIlraith hopes that attendees will come away with a good understanding of what he dubs the “authority/accountability” equation in physician leadership. “This is a principle that is used to assess what is expected of you in order to be successful as a leader, and if your ‘authority’ is commensurate with your ‘accountability,’ ” he said. “The authority piece of the equation takes many forms: resources, personnel, reporting structure, clerical support, and so forth. The key is to make sure that the authority/accountably equation is balanced not only for you but also for your subordinates.”

One example of an imbalanced authority/accountability equation that he’ll discuss in some detail is becoming a figurehead, in which accountability exists without the necessary authority. “If you end up in that position, get out,” Dr. McIlraith said. He will also discuss an example of where the authority/accountability equation is tipped in the opposite direction, with disastrous consequences.

Dr. McIlraith and Kimberly Bell, MD, who will also present at this session, aim to make it interactive. Dr. Bell currently serves as the divisional director of the CHI Franciscan Inpatient Team located in Tacoma, Wash. “We both have a wealth of experience to offer, but we are not the only ones in attendance who have wisdom to share,” Dr. McIlraith said.

Another goal of this session is to help attendees identify other hospital medicine leaders in comparable situations for the purpose of networking outside of the meeting. The session, although aimed at physician leaders, will be relevant to all hospitalists.

Scaling Up Your Hospital Medicine Group
Monday, 1:35-2:35 p.m.

Grand Ballroom 7B

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