Refreshed, Re-energized and Ready for Another Year

One of my favorite things about being a hospitalist is attending the annual SHM meeting. I look forward to making new friends, reconnecting with old colleagues, and learning about what’s happening across the country. With so many opportunities to connect and educational tracks to learn from, this year’s conference did not disappoint in the slightest.

HM 2015 opened with a discussion of how to take quality to the next level. Hospitalists were once again placed at the forefront of the changing healthcare system, and were encouraged to lead transformational change. In this era of cost-consciousness, it was good to see the organization vigorously support efforts like Choosing Wisely and high-value care. These and other quality initiatives are ones that I personally champion in my daily practice, and I loved HM15’s positive reinforcement of that!

One interesting new event was the case competition organized around the Choosing Wisely campaign. Hospitalists from all corners of the country came together to present their results from implementing SHM’s five recommendations. Many of these studies’ conclusions were overwhelmingly positive, reinforcing the overarching theme of HM15.

The annual meeting was organized around “tracks” — each representing a cohesive set of seminars focused on a particular topic relevant to hospitalists. I’ve always been partial to the practice management, quality, clinical and workshop tracks at the annual meeting. I find they have the most return on investment (if you will) and impact on my daily practice. This year, my personal favorites were the Updates in Quality, Value and Patient Satisfaction session by Michelle Mourad, MD and Christopher Moriates, MD; the Choosing Wisely talk by John Bulger, DO, MBA; and of course, the ever popular Update in Hospital Medicine, presented this year by Kathleen Finn, MD, FHM and Jeffrey Greenwald, MD, SFHM. If interested in reviewing the salient points of these sessions, click here.

The most valuable part of the annual conference is the opportunity to connect with like-minded colleagues who share in the common struggles, be it as a leader in the field or as a doc on the wards. This year’s experience was no exception. I enjoyed discussing a variety of topics — the complexities of hospitalist scheduling, ways to meaningfully improve the patient experience, optimal hospitalist workload, new quality improvement initiatives, and better ways to teach HM to residents on the wards, just to name a few. Conversation and discussion were present everywhere, and I am sure they generated much food for thought.

The “tech” presence at this year’s meeting was palpable and very cool. The social circle was an extremely successful concept where live tweets were featured while sessions and other recordings were broadcasted. Our little corner of Twitter exploded with chatter about the conference, which was informative, fun and educational. Take a walk down memory lane and visit #HospMed15 to read the tweets from the annual conference. It really gives a sense of the positive and thoughtful atmosphere.

Lastly, I had the exciting opportunity to meet the “man who needs no introduction,” Dr. Bob Wachter, and receive a personalized signed copy of his new book, The Digital Doctor. I definitely look forward to reading it. His concluding remarks highlighted the very realistic problem of preventable medical errors that doctors face as medicine becomes increasingly digitalized. It’s a new challenge for hospitalists everywhere, and one that is constantly evolving.

While there are obstacles to overcome, hospital medicine continues to be a positive and exciting specialty. Opportunities abound, and there is truly something for everyone. The future is, indeed, bright.

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