From the Society

Patient handoffs and research methods


Editor’s Note: The Society of Hospital Medicine’s (SHM’s) Physician in Training Committee launched a scholarship program in 2015 for medical students to help transform healthcare and revolutionize patient care. The program has been expanded for the 2017-18 year, offering two options for students to receive funding and engage in scholarly work during their first, second and third years of medical school. As a part of the program, recipients are required to write about their experience on a biweekly basis.

As I wrap up my work for the summer, I am happy to reflect on my wonderful experiences. One of my greatest lessons from my mentors, Dr. Vineet Arora and Dr. Juan Rojas, is the development of a complete methods section and the careful necessity of approaching data and writing the abstract. I now realize the necessity of carefully maintaining a written account of how we approached the data, as it allows us to both communicate it to our audience and to look back on how to further organize it.

Anton Garazha, a medical student at Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago.

Anton Garazha

I am glad to have learned about how management at University of Chicago Medical Center is handled. I knew that the way handoffs work is based on both written and spoken materials. However, upon interviewing various physicians, I encountered the different ways physicians kept track of their patients. One of the benefits of asking open-ended questions is the ability to glean a large amount of information. Some physicians reveal numerous details regarding both the hierarchy of health factors they wish to manage, as well as details regarding the handoff, as well as the structure, and the different ways each person approaches these details.

Furthermore, my approach towards research significantly shifted in the time I spent this summer. Previously, I would focus primarily on results; however, from having performed a comprehensive literature review, I now focus on the way the data was approached and presented, the way the team kept careful track of methods, and the way they use previous research to establish their project. My previous experience was around quantitative research; the way that research teams approach qualitative research often differs from one another, often requiring a special level of ingenuity in approach and analysis, often due to the highly variable data.

After my experience at University of Chicago, I feel significantly more comfortable approaching research. One of my greatest goals regarding my research was to gain a better understanding of the interaction between various departments and the general ward in order to better prepare myself to be an effective physician. By asking the question, “What do you think is the most important factor regarding the management of this patient?”, I fully realized my deep interest in medical management: any research I approach as a physician would be closely intertwined to clinical medicine.

I am very, very thankful for the opportunity to learn from highly experienced physicians and researchers, and I will use this experience going forward with any clinical and research experiences I encounter.

Anton Garazha is a medical student at Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago. He received his bachelor of science degree in biology from Loyola University in Chicago in 2015 and his master of biomedical science degree from Rosalind Franklin University in 2016. Anton is very interested in community outreach and quality improvement, and in his spare time tutors students in science-based subjects.

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