From idea to abstract, RIV posters highlight novel thinking


Masih Shinwa, MD, stood beside a half-circle of judges Tuesday night at SHM’s annual Research, Innovations and Clinical Vignettes (RIV) poster competition and argued why his entry, already a finalist, should win. And to think, his poster, “Please ‘THINK’ Before You Order: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Decreasing Overutilization of Daily Labs,” was born simply of a group of medical students who incredulously said they were amazed patients would be woken in the middle of the night for laboratory tests.

Eighteen months later, the poster drew hundreds of questions from passersby on how a team approach could help generate fewer labs and chemistry testing. Now, the work could serve as a potential guide for other hospitals seeking to reduce unnecessary tests, a focal point of SHM and the ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign.

Richard Schildhouse, MD, (left, facing) of the VA Health System in Ann Arbor, Mich., elaborates on his poster at HM17.

For Dr. Shinwa, knowing that the work he and his colleagues are doing at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York has drawn attention from hospitalists across the country was humbling.

“This is a way to make it national,” he said. “You may have affected the lives of the patients in your hospital, but unless you attend these types of national meetings, it’s hard to get that perspective across [the country].”

That level of personal and professional collaboration is the purpose of the RIV, one of the best-attended events of SHM’s annual meeting. The event has become so popular that submissions this year tallied 1,712, nearly triple the number of submissions at the 2010 event.

“One of the amazing things is everyone has their own poster. They are doing their work,” said Margaret Fang, MD, MPH, FHM, program chair for HM17’s scientific abstracts competition, the formal name for the poster contest. “But then they start up conversations with the people next to them. ... seeing the organic networking and the discussions that arise from that is really exciting. RIV really serves as a way of connecting people together who might not have known the other person was doing that kind of work.”

Dr. Shinwa said that the specialty’s focus on research is important. He said it positions the field to be leaders, not just for patient care, but for hospitals and institutions.

“We are physicians. Our role is taking care of patients,” he said. “[But] knowing that there are people who are not just focusing on taking care of specific patients, but are actually there to improve the entire system and the process, that is really gratifying.”

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