Confrontation vs. Collaboration

By Guest Post |  March 10, 2015 | 

by Drs. Kenneth R. Epstein MD, MBA, FACP, FHM and Kenneth J. Heinrich MD, FACEP

“I can’t believe that he didn’t even get a CT scan before he called me.”

“Why does she have to hassle me about every admission? Just take the patient!”

Familiar phrases, right? What hospitalist hasn’t, at some point, been exasperated by the lack of a complete diagnostic workup prior to an emergency physician calling about an admission? And what emergency physician has not hung up the phone after a frustrating conversation with a hospitalist who has not wanted to admit a patient that clearly needs to be hospitalized?

Emergency physicians and hospitalists are both part of the same team caring for these patients who present to the emergency room and need to be admitted. They also probably interact with one another more often than any other group of physicians. Yet, despite this frequent contact, the relationship is tenuous, marked by poor communication and a failure to understand one another.

Our own experience has shown us that a lack of understanding underlies the majority of our conflicts with emergency docs. Through better knowledge of the perspectives of each other, this relationship has the potential to be one marked by collegiality and cooperation, which will ultimately result in improved patient care.

Dr. Ken Heinrich and I (also known as “The Kens”) are hosting a workshop at Hospital Medicine 2015 entitled, “Emergency Department-Hospitalist Relations: Confrontation versus Collaboration” that will explore common areas of disagreement between emergency physicians and hospitalists, identify the bases for the differing perspectives, and lead an interactive discussion about how to use this knowledge to improve relations between these specialties. We will present humorous video vignettes that explore various scenarios that occur daily in our hospitals.

As workshop participants, you should come prepared to share your own experiences, and discuss frustrations and successes you have seen. Together, we will explore how the two largest groups of hospital-based physicians can view each other not as combatants in a daily battle for control, but as professional colleagues and collaborative partners helping patients navigate the healthcare system to receive the best possible care.

So join us, The Kens, at Hospital Medicine 2015 to learn how to lead your colleagues from confrontation to collaboration with your ED counterparts..


Epstein_Ken (213x320)Dr. Kenneth R. Epstein MD, MBA, FACP, FHM is chief medical officer for Hospitalist Consultants, for which he oversees clinical care for all Hospitalist Consultants practices and supervises all hospitalist education and quality activities. He received his medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University, where he completed his internal medicine residency. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and received his MBA from Temple University. He is the former president of KRE Consulting, a hospitalist management company in Boulder, Co., and the former director of medical affairs and clinical research at IPC-The Hospitalist Company.


Heinrich_Ken (240x320)Dr. Kenneth J. Heinrich MD, FACEP is the Medical Director of Emergency Consultants Advisory Group of ECI Healthcare Partners. He is an expert in emergency department process improvement methodologies. He received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois, and completed his Emergency Medicine Residency program at the University of Illinois. Prior to joining the ECI Advisory Group, Dr. Heinrich served as Medical Director of the Emergency Department at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, IL. He is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine and a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians and Illinois College of Emergency Physicians.

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