A hospitalist for 18 years and Annual Conference Committee (ACC) member for the last 4 years, I have always felt immense pride in this meeting. This year, we experienced constant evolution and adapted in ways unimaginable; frameshifts, detours, course corrections, wearing out words like “pivot” and “unprecedented,” whilst contending with virus lulls and surges at hospitals across the country. And SHM Converge 2021 was a landmark success despite it all.
Our SHM community successfully connected through the marvels of modern technology and enjoyed a snappy new logo and name to mark the occasion. Our unflappable course director Dan Steinberg, MD, SFHM, led an intrepid and creative team through uncertainty and produced an extraordinary educational event truly worthy of the term “unprecedented.” ACC members, talented in so many ways, each brought a unique perspective to the planning table to craft a balanced, relevant, and cutting-edge program. The only thing harder than planning a conference for thousands of hospitalists is planning TWO CONFERENCES – one in person, then one virtually.
For their facilitation of virtual adaptation of everything from clinical talks to hot dog sales, our SHM administrative staff deserve a medal. Industry sponsors likewise performed pretzel maneuvers for the virtual interface, and we thank them for their creativity and support. Freshly minted SHM CEO Eric Howell, MD, MHM, kicked off Converge by adeptly filling some very large shoes with aplomb, humor, and humility – telegraphing that our society is in good hands indeed (and that 2020 was NOT the ‘final frontier’). And, finally, each of you, in the suspended reality of a conference hall, tapped into session after session from the comfort of your hometown chairs, indefatigably learning and networking during a pandemic year.
So, beyond adaptability, what did we learn? We renewed our commitment to resilience and wellness in medicine, and reemphasized how critical diversity, equity, and inclusion are in both the workplace and in clinical practice. These topics were complemented by the usual standing-room-only clinical updates and rapid-fire sessions – where everyone could enjoy a front row seat. We talked about parenting in the pandemic, compared clinical approaches in friendly debates – for patients big and small – and deeply dived into leadership strategies for a sustainable workforce.
Here are some SHM Converge 2021 nuggets (Apologies for so few ... there were thousands!):
Eric Howell, MD, MHM
- Make the world a better place, be transparent and act with integrity, invest in others, do what you love.
- SHM has been leading the pack in providing e-learning options, promoting clinician self-care, and intensifying diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts before and throughout the pandemic.
- SHM has 18,000 members, 68 chapters, 26 special interest groups, 15 committees, 12 board of directors, 50 staff – growing and getting stronger every day.
- Rainbows need both rain and sunshine to form.
Gen. Mark Hertling
- Our COVID experience as hospitalists shared many features with active combat, including post-COVID combat fog.
- Use your ears, eyes, and mouth in that order: Listen more, see more, speak less.
Vineet Arora, MD, MHM
- Don’t pass up your “career gates.”
- Find “zero-gravity thinkers” – not innovation killers.
- Keep track of your state of mind using the “Bob Wachter scale.”
U.S. Surgeon Gen. Vivek Murthy, MD, and Danielle Scheurer, MD, SFHM
- Mental health and well-being of clinicians is imperative; “heal thyself” doesn’t work. Culture must support policies to truly craft a more sustaining and rewarding environment.
- We are a nation hyperfocused on episodic and salvage care (and are good at it) but must move the needle toward continuity and prevention. Sadly, nobody celebrates the heart attack that was prevented.
- What can hospitalists do about social determinants of health? Advocate for policies individually or through SHM – if you don’t know how, receive training – this is invaluable. More lobbying as a profession may yield legislation and funding aimed at such determinants and improve healthcare.
Larry Wellikson, MD, MHM
- New models hospitalists may soon inhabit: Hospital at Home, ED+, Micro-Hospitals.
- More than 50% of revenue comes from “vertical” services (outside the hospital) rather than horizontal services (in hospital) – trend to increase efforts in population health initiatives.
- Emphasis on value must go from looking at episodes of care to outcomes.
- Hospitalists Complexologists? Be relevant, add value – survive, thrive, and prosper.