Patient Experience at Pinnacle of Hospital Medicine Meeting

Miriam E. Tucker

March 20, 2015

Training the hospitalists of tomorrow and improving patient involvement will be among the priority topics presented at the Society of Hospital Medicine 2015 Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland.

"For most of the history of medicine, we've focused solely on improving the clinical outcome of the patient," said Burke Kealey, MD, who is president of the society. However, "over the past decade or so, other things have come into play as we've modernized our thinking. One is affordability; healthcare is becoming more and more unaffordable to the average person. The other is patient experience," he explained. "How are we treating people? How do they feel when they're in our care? Do they feel part of the team? Do they feel they have a voice?"

"We've started to understand that this is critically important, not just to make people feel valued, but also because we know that people who feel connected to their healthcare team do better," Dr Kealey told Medscape Medical News.

Patient experience will be addressed throughout the meeting. There will be a precourse on enhancing communication skills, an hour-long session illustrating, with case studies, ways to improve patient involvement, and a track of six lectures on the "doctor–patient relationship," including what to do if you get sued, how to run a family meeting, and facilitating end-of-life discussions.

"One of my platforms this year is looking at the 'triple aim' — improving health, patient experience, and affordability — and how we design our processes to look at all three of those things at the same time," said Dr Kealey. "I'm really trying to make sure that we, as a specialty, adopt it."

We know that people who feel connected to their healthcare team do better.

Because it is a relatively new field, hospitalists might have an advantage, he explained. "We don't have legacy issues weighing us down, so we can be nimble and creative and look to the future. I think this meeting is representative of that. We have talks devoted to patient experience, affordability, the total cost of care for patients, and, of course, a lot of clinical content," so that doctors can be the best that they can in the hospital.

New this year will be a track of six lectures aimed at residents just starting out as hospitalists and medical students interested in learning about the specialty. Topics will include how to write a good curriculum vitae, time management, and making the most of mentoring. And in the evening, the young hospitalists will present posters alongside their mentors.

Next-Generation Hospitalists

One of the missions of the Society of Hospital Medicine is "to increase the pipeline for internal medicine and pediatrics residents to come into the profession," said course director Efren Manjarrez, MD, from the University of Miami Hospital.

"We're very proud of our young hospitalist track, which is pulling in our next generation of hospitalists," he told Medscape Medical News.

Other meeting highlights include 40-minute rapid-fire sessions on clinical topics that range from assessing delirium to anticoagulation to medication management in the elderly to whether patients who wear insulin pumps should be allowed to manage the devices themselves during hospital stays.

"About 80% of our rank and file membership are private practice hospitalists who come to the meeting for their continuing medical education credits, so, as usual, we have a great wealth of clinical topics," Dr Manjarrez said.

Other lecture tracks will cover practice management, academics and research, quality, and pediatrics. In addition, 90-minute workshops will provide in-depth coverage of areas such as managing surgical patients, improving care using mobile apps, and implementing value-based purchasing into hospitalist practice.

A day of oral presentations on cutting-edge research and innovations will include studies looking at linking physicians' schedules to electronic health records to provide individualized data feedback, the association between intensive care unit transfer delay and hospital mortality, and reducing in daily lab testing as a cost-reduction and care improvement strategy.

Opening keynotes will be delivered by renowned patient safety and hospital quality improvement expert Peter Pronovost, MD, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and Maureen Bisognano, from the influential Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Following tradition, the conference will close with a talk by Robert Wachter, MD, from University of California at San Francisco, who is regarded as the founder of the field of hospitalist medicine and its academic leader.

"The whole meeting is a potpourri of amazing topics and great networking," said Dr Manjarrez. "There is nothing better for hospitalists than the annual meeting."

Dr Burke and Dr Manjarrez have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.


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