A call for innovation: Dr. Robert Wachter to discuss evolution of HM at closing plenary


As has become tradition, Robert Wachter, MD, MHM, of the University of California, San Francisco, will close the conference today and will focus on the broader changes that must happen as the role of the hospitalist continues to evolve.

“I am going to talk about the changes in the world of hospital care and the importance of the field to innovate,” Dr. Wachter said. “To me, there are gravitational forces in the health care world that are making … patients who are in hospitals sicker than they were before. More and more patients are going to be cared for in outpatient settings and at home. We are going start to ... see things like sensors and telemedicine to enable more care outside of the hospital.”

Dr. Robert Wachter, hospitalist, department of medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Robert Wachter

Dr. Wachter said hospital medicine must evolve and mature to continue to prove that hospitalists are indispensable staff members within the hospital.

“That was why the field became the fastest-growing profession in medical history. We can’t sit on our laurels. We have to continue to innovate,” he said. “Even as the system changes around us, I am confident that we will innovate. My talk will be a pep talk and will include reflections on how the world of health care is changing and what those changes will mean to hospitalists.”

Dr. Wachter noted that the trend of steering patients who are less sick to the outpatient setting, as well as other economic factors, would change the nature of hospitalist practice.

“It will be more acuity, more intensity, more complex relationships with your own hospital and often with partner hospitals,” he said. “More of the work will be digitally enabled than it would have been 5 or 10 years ago.”

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