Career Development

The Essentials of QI Leadership: A Conversation with Dr. Eric Howell, Part 2

My last blog post, featuring my Q and A with Dr. Eric Howell, Division Director, Collaborative Inpatient Medicine Service (CIMS) at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, and SHM's Senior Physician Advisor, focused on his early days in Quality Improvement (QI) and advice for training in QI. This next post discusses the Center’s role within SHM and how hospitalists can become involved in quality improvement. How did you get involved in The Center, and can you explain your role in The Center today? It was a lot of luck, good timing and being prepared. I’ve been in The Center for two years. Before that, I was involved with a number of The Center’s successful QI projects. I was reasonably well known in the Project BOOST (SHM's program for improving care transitions) community. Along with Mark Williams and Jeff Greenwald, I was one of the original three who pitched Project…

It’s Time for a Buzz Cut

I sometimes joke that hospitalists are the medicine version of the mullet haircut – you know, all business in "the front" (i.e. the patient care area) and all party in "the back" (i.e. the work room). In "the back", the usual scenario is to complain and moan about our frequent flyers, our drug seekers, our many unsaveable patients, the incredible situations ("He put a nail where??), with good-natured but somewhat bitter truculence about sharing duties with housestaff and general whining about hospital leadership. Generally, as long as these semi-inappropriate conversations and remarks were kept "backstage", and our demeanor was professional "onstage", I felt it was harmless. You know, gallows humor. A coping mechanism. And often entertaining. But there was always a part of me that wondered if these "backstage" conversations were having a more corrosive impact on communication with our patients. Does it normalize a negative judgement about patients if…

Vegas Awaits: Hospital Medicine 2017

I’m packing up for Vegas. I always look forward to the yearly conference. And back in Vegas, expectations are high. However, we all know there will be one or two distractions from the conference schedule. Here are few takeaways I hope to obtain from both the conference and Vegas. Building Community The Power of Networking Placing the Right Bets The Importance of Arts AYCE Benefits Building Community While I’m in Vegas, I may wander north of the strip and head for Container Park and the Downtown Project. The Zappos CEO poured $350 million of his wealth into this downtown Las Vegas project, with the goal of rapidly building a community from scratch as start-up city. Health can be impacted by the design of a city, and many cities are taking that cue. The Downtown Project wanted to create a walkable city and a new tech industry while experimenting with city building at the private level.…

Building a Practice that People Want to be Part Of

As those of you who have followed my posts on this blog know, I’ve been spending a lot of time mulling over issues related to hospitalist job satisfaction and career sustainability. I’ve written about concrete things like re-thinking hospitalist work schedules and minimizing low-value interruptions, as well as more abstract concepts like assessing your group’s “gross happiness index.” My fascination with these issues and my concern about their potential impact on the specialty of hospital medicine eventually led John and me, as course directors, to the theme of this year’s practice management pre-course at HM17 – Practice Management Success Strategies: Building a Practice That People Want to Be Part Of. Perhaps, like me, you are interested in digging deeper into matters of career satisfaction and sustainability. Or perhaps you are simply focused on the more mundane struggle just to recruit and retain enough qualified providers for your group. In either…

We Go to the Altar Together

Last month, I wrote about onboarding and the important responsibility that everyone associated with a hospitalist program has to ensure that each new provider quickly comes to believe he or she made a terrific choice to join the group. Upon reflection, it seems important to address the other side of this equation. I’m talking about the responsibilities that each candidate has when deciding whether to apply for a job, to interview, and to accept or reject a group’s offer. The relationship between a hospitalist and the group he or she is part of is a lot like a marriage. Both parties go to the altar together, and the relationship is most likely to be successful when both enter it with their eyes open, having done their due diligence, and with an intention to align their interests and support each other. Here are some things every hospitalist should be thinking about as…