IHI REVIEW-4 STARS (if you’re a hospitalist)

Last week I attended the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Annual Forum in Orlando. The turnout was estimated at close to 6000. However, this was the first year without Don Berwick at the helm. Even though absent, his message was ubiquitous. I want to share one take home point from the meeting:

WE ARE EVERYWHERE AND PART OF EVERYTHING.

Hospitalists were all over the conference. Presenting workshops, attending workshops, presenting research, and sponsoring the program. You could not attend a session without seeing, hearing or thinking “hospital medicine.” From the Micro-Meso-Macro system seminar that touted best practices in multidisciplinary rounds- to the sessions on patient centeredness and care transitions; hospital medicine is clearly one of the key vehicles for advancing the IHI Triple Aim.

Healthcare payment reform was the topic of discussion in many sessions. From ARRA dollars for EMR deployment, to HCAHPS penalties and value based payments, Hospital Medicine is aligned with the healthcare payment systems of the (very near) future.

Surprisingly, even though hospitalists practice in more than 80% of medium to large sized hospitals in the U.S., I found in my conversations with many hospital administrators that they struggle with the value question around hospitalists. This struggle, I am confident, will diminish when the traditional incentives of fee for service medicine fade away. Hopefully, the hospital executives present at IHI will connect the dots and understand that hospitalists will be a key piece for meeting the triple aim.

For those of you in a mature hospitalist culture, the triple aim can be a common goal to better align with your c-suite. For those of you still making the case for hospital medicine, use the triple aim as a conversation starter. Ask your CMO or COO, “So, how are you planning to do that?”

Surely, “with hospitalists…” can be the answer for many of the questions at hand.

Two thumbs up for the 2010 IHI Forum and congratualtions to the hospitalists there who flew the HM flag.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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