Pediatric hospitalists convene virtually to discuss PHM designation


What might self-designation look like?

PHM is distinct from adult hospital medicine by virtue of its designation as a board-certified subspecialty. But it can look to the broader HM field for examples of designations that bestow a kind of professional recognition, Dr. Chang said. These include SHM’s merit-based Fellow in Hospital Medicine program and the American Board of Medical Specialties’ Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine, a pathway for board recertification in internal medicine and family medicine, he said.

But PHM self-designation is not necessarily a pathway to hospital privileges. “If we build it, will they come? If they come, will it mean anything to them? That’s the million-dollar question?” Dr. Chang said.

Hospitalists need to appreciate that this issue is important to all three PHM professional societies, SHM, AAP, and APA, Dr. Fromme said. “We are concerned about how to support all of our members – certified, noncertified, nonphysician. Alternate designation is one idea, but we need time to understand it. We need a lot more conversations and a lot of people thinking about it.”

Dr. Fromme is part of the Council on Pediatric Hospital Medicine, a small circle of leaders of PHM interest groups within the three professional associations. It meets quarterly and will be reviewing the results of the conference call.

“I personally think we don’t understand the scope of the problem or the needs of pediatric hospitalists who are not able to sit for boards or pursue a fellowship,” she said. “We have empathy and concern for our colleagues who can’t take the boards. We don’t want them to feel excluded, and that includes advanced practice nurses and residents. But does an alternative designation actually provide what people think it provides?”

There are other ways to demonstrate that professionals are engaged with and serious about developing their practice. If they are looking to better themselves at quality improvement, leadership, education, and other elements of PHM practice, the associations can endeavor to provide more educational opportunities, Dr. Fromme said. “But if it’s about how they look as a candidate for hire, relative to board-certified candidates, that’s a different beast, and we need to think about what can help them the most.”


1. American Board of Pediatrics, Response to the Pediatric Hospital Medicine Petition. 2019 Aug 20.

2. Chang WW et al. J Hosp Med. 2019 Oct;14(10):589-90.


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