- Nov 2018
He and other SHM officials have pushed hospitalists for the past few years to formalize their HIT duties by seeing if they would qualify to take the exam for board certification in medical informatics, which was created in 2013 by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Between certification of that skill set and working more with technology vendors and others to improve HIT, Dr. Rogers sees HM being able to help reform much of the current technology woes in just a few years.
“To me, this is the new frontier,” Dr. Wachter says. “If our defining mantra as a field is, ‘How do we make care better for patients, and how do we create a better system?’ … well, I don’t see how you say that without really owning the issue of informatics.”
SHM’s Information Technology Committee, believes that hospitalists have to take ownership of health information technology (HIT) in their own buildings.
- Kendall Rogers = Chair of SHM Information Technology Committee
- Future role of hospitalist = QI initiatives, health information technology
- Training needs, fellowship curricular components
Dr. Bessler of Sound Physicians notes that advances in technology have come with their hurdles as well. Take the oft-maligned world of electronic medical records (EMRs). “EMRs are great for data, but they’re not workflow solutions,” Dr. Bessler says. “They don’t tell you what do next.” So Sound Physicians created its own technology platform, dubbed Sound Connect, that interacts with in-place EMRs at hospitals across the country. The in-house system takes the functional documentation of EMRs and overlays productivity protocols, Dr. Bessler says. “It allows us to run a standard workflow and drive reproducible results and put meaningful data in the hands of the docs on a daily basis in the way that an EMR is just not set up to do,” he adds. Technology will continue “to be instrumental, of course, but I think the key thing is interoperability, which plenty has been written on, so we’re not unique in that. The more the public demands and the clinicians demand … the better patient care will be. I think the concept of EMR companies not being easy to work with has to end.”
Biggest challenge will be integration of different technological solutions and sources of data - workflows for delivering care and for research purposes (e.g., person-level QI initiatives, passive baseline data)
“It doesn’t just help make hospitalists work better. It makes nursing better. It makes surgeons better. It makes pharmacy better.”
In the last 20 years, HM and technology have drastically changed the hospital landscape. But was HM pushed along by generational advances in computing power, smart devices in the shape of phones and tablets, and the software that powered those machines? Or was technology spurred on by having people it could serve directly in the hospital, as opposed to the traditionally fragmented system that preceded HM? “Bob [Wachter] and others used to joke that the only people that actually understand the computer system are the hospitalists,” Dr. Goldman notes. “Chicken or the egg, right?” adds Dr. Merlino of Press Ganey. “Technology is an enabler that helps providers deliver better care. I think healthcare quality in general has been helped by both.
Chicken or the egg? Technological advances were tailored for specific needs in accordance with growth of hospitalist model
- interprofessional teamwork
- background economic benefits hospitalist model
- medical informatics
- tech effect
- board certification
- hospitalist model
- future challenge
- emerging role of hospitalists