Announcing our Hospitalist CME Course, and a New Hospitalist Mini-College

A quick heads-up for those of you thinking about attending this year’s Management of the Hospitalized Patient (MHP) conference, October 23-25 in SF… we’re adding a hands-on, small group “Hospitalist Mini-College” pre-course. I think it will be tremendous.

This will be our 12th Annual MHP conference (co-sponsored by the Society of Hospital Medicine). It is a clinical CME course, blending lectures on key topics in hospital medicine (I hand-pick the faculty for their lecturing skill) with nearly 20 small group session choices. We use the computerized Audience Response System to promote active learning, and there are great opportunities to network with (and recruit! – just not my faculty, please) the 500-600 hospitalist (and others interested in hospital medicine) attendees. Information about this conference, which takes place at the beautiful and historic Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, is here, along with the pdf brochure, which describes both courses.

One thing we’ve heard over the years is that, while the MHP conference is wonderful, many community-based hospitalists are hankering for an opportunity to return to their academic roots – to go on rounds with a master clinician, improve their physical exam skills, hone their clinical reasoning abilities, and more. As we scanned the hospital medicine CME universe, we found a number of offerings in leadership (such as SHM’s superb Leadership Academy) but no hands-on, hospital-based, small group experience for rank-and-file hospitalists.

So we’ve built one. Working with my colleagues Arpana Vidyarthi and Niraj Sehgal, it’ll be a 3-day course (October 20-22) based at UCSF Medical Center (we will provide a free shuttle if you’re staying at the Fairmont) with hands-on experience in hospital neurology, critical care medicine, and medical consultation/co-management. You’ll round in small groups with master clinicians. You’ll also attend an M&M conference and a Root Cause Analysis, receive hands-on procedural training (e.g., use of ultrasound guidance), and participate in sessions focused on interpreting radiographic studies, building diagnostic acumen, and using electronic resources to quickly answer clinical questions. Information about the mini-college is here (again, here is the pdf of the brochure for both courses).
I hope to see many of you there! Enrollment to the mini-college is tightly limited, so I encourage you to register soon if you’re interested.
And, if you’re a dad, Happy Fathers’ Day! Whether you are or aren’t, call your Dad if you can. If you need any inspiration, read Ben Stein’s touching piece from last week’s Sunday NY Times.


  1. rwdrwd on June 17, 2008 at 4:35 am

    This looks great. I hope to see you in SF in October, at least for the main meeting. (I’ve been twice before and thought it was outstanding).

    For some of us the registration fee will be an issue. How does pharmaceutical industry support affect the fees (for the main course in particular)?

    If the AMA passes the proposed ban on industry funding for CME events how will that affect the future of this meeting?


  2. Bob Wachter on June 17, 2008 at 5:35 am

    Glad you’ve enjoyed the past courses. Hope to see you there this year.

    Believe it or not, even very successful courses like mine barely break even without exhibitors, even with not-inexpensive registration fees like ours (which are in the mid-range of typical fees for 2.5 day CME courses — the “Mini-College” is pricier because of the absence of exhibitors, the high faculty-to-attendee ratio, and some of the additional costs such as credentialing and shuttles).

    Personally, I think that allowing companies to exhibit, and thereby to help support courses like mine, is no more sinister than allowing ads in medical journals. The exhibitors are paying for space and access to “eyeballs,” but they have absolutely no influence on content or speakers — I plan and publish the program well before the first exhibitor is lined up. Given the hospitalist field’s dynamic, our exhibitors turn out to be an eclectic mix of pharma, some IT companies (handhelds, billing, other innovative technologies), publishers, national/regional hospitalist companies, and hospitals and healthcare systems trying to recruit hospitalists. It is a pretty diversified portfolio.

    If industry engagement in CME was banned, I think it would spell the end of CME courses like mine. Registration fees would go up by 25-50%, and folks would likely choose to obtain their CME credits on-line. When I see the wonderful networking that happens at our conference, I think that would be a big loss.

    That said, I am well aware that others (including many people I greatly respect) differ on this, and I can’t deny that I am conflicted.

  3. rwdrwd on June 17, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Thanks for your prompt and thoughtful reply to my question above. Conflicted or not I believe your course content is clean. I hope the present day McCarthyism over industry support does not result in the demise of your course and others like it.

    R. W. Donnell

  4. watchley on June 18, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Having attended the previous 11 I have always found the course content outstanding. I agree with the cost issue and hope that it will continue to be in a good price range for all hospitalists to attend. Look forward to the 12th.

  5. JPercelay on June 20, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    This is a fascinating concept, and one that offers many opportunities for hands-on learning opportunities. The UCSF radiology program used to offer opportunities for practicing radiologists to spend a 1 week “sabbatical” with the academic group, sitting in on the reading room and other conferences. This sounds similar in ways.

    Couple of questions:
    1) Will participants be able to touch live patients, or sit/stand in on patient rounds? or do licensing, malpractice, and HIPPA issues prevent this option for anyone who is not already UCSF adjunct clinical faculty?

    2) If the above issues can be resolved, do you see a future creating “life-long learning opportunities” where practicing office-based clinicians actively participate on hospitalist rounds to maintain some inpatient expertise (and hospital privileges.)

    In pediatrics, it is particularly valuable to provide hands-on inpatient lifelong learning opportunities. Rural communities simply lack the volume to support pediatric hospitalists, and pediatricians practicing in these areas need to maintain inpatient, ER, and neonatal skills in addition to outpatient skills. This may be less of an issue in the adult population where almost any hospital is going to have sufficient volume to support a hospital medicine program.

    And, in a compmlementary fashion, there is probably value for hospitalists to spend a day working in the office to get a reminder of what things are like on the other side of the hospital fence.

    Jack Percelay
    SHM Pediatric Board Member

  6. Bob Wachter on June 22, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Yes, Jack, we partly modeled this on the UCSF radiology program; our AIDS program has also done something like this in the past. As I understand the credentialing (thanks to Dr. Vidyarthi for helping me out on this), attendees will officially be credentialed by UCSF as “Visiting Scholars,” which will allow them to participate as “observers.” (They’ll also have to sign HIPAA forms.) This status should allow them to examine patients and observe care, but not to directly provide care. In other words, they won’t be in a position to discuss their diagnostic formulation with the patient.

    We hadn’t thought about the option you discussed in #2, but I guess it is possible. First, we need to see whether there is a demand for this kind of thing — I hope so.

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