SHM 2015 Review: An Insider Perspective

For those who didn’t get the opportunity to attend this year’s Society of Hospital Medicine conference in Washington D.C., your advocates here at MPS are bringing it to you! The four day – long event featured a faculty of some of the brightest and most prominent minds from around the country, and MPS’ own co-founder Dr. Ali Chaudhry was part of the teaching staff. So with our back-stage pass, come take a behind the scenes look at one of 2015’s biggest events, and maybe glean a few ideas you can take into 2016.

My Time is of the Essence…

Many physicians wonder about the value of attending such a conference, especially those who are in training and cannot find the time to take a vacation – let alone a ‘work vacation’, as this might be categorized. Typically, your employer may provide for your travel expense and room, plus a meal allowance – certainly something to note when budgets are frugal – but it’s often the time factor that is in the shortest supply, especially for the residents.

The poster competition saw nearly four hundred entries from medical schools nationwide, and gave many residents a chance to showcase their individual learning merits and initiative. With patient satisfaction carrying more weight than ever – not to mention a direct economic impact on the medical community in new ways – this year’s entries saw a marked increase in fiscally oriented presentations. If you’re wondering if such an event is worth it in the future, consider this – having attended the SHM conference and entering the poster competition, you have added an element to your CV that can set you apart for that competitive fellowship or job opportunity. And those residents that can demonstrate economic clairvoyance will position themselves very favorably with the executives they are looking to impress. If you want to get noticed, be noticeable!

To Pre(course), or Not to Pre?

The pre – courses are taught by the SHM faculty and represent the most up-to-date studies available. There were several to choose from, ranging from purely quality improvement initiatives to procedural hands-on training in new techniques. They aren’t exactly cheap – the Ultrasound course, which featured Dr. Chaudhry as a faculty trainer, ran about $700 a person – but it gave those in attendance the opportunity to use the Ultrasound with a central line insertion, and most of the attendees had never had that opportunity before. Every exit interview got a high rating from those in attendance; you get what you pay for!

Education certainly shouldn’t end at the conclusion of residency/fellowship; few opportunities for specialized learning are better than those presented at such conferences, and such experience may help you realize an area of practice you’d like to see implemented in your own hospital. Medical executives are looking for their physician staff to help find ways to augment the options for care, and what better way to contribute than learn what is already working well in other parts of the country? Take initiative, learn something new, and take it home to your practice!

A Diamond in the Rough?

The vendor booths that dominated a huge amount of exhibition floor showcased a dizzying array of the industry’s ancillary elements – everything from new medications to EMR software to job placement agencies, even high end massage chairs! While the prospect of wading through so many booths can seem justifiably daunting, it’s worth your time to at least peruse the floor. What if something there can really help improve your workflow technology back home? Maybe a new treatment to help that patient you just saw last week? Perhaps an opportunity to make connections that could help you down the road? You won’t know unless you go… and shaking hands gets things done.

That final point is one to always bear in mind: don’t forget about the power of networking as you grow in your career. The connections you create at national conferences will create inroads for you in places around the country, giving you insights and resources that less traveled colleagues could never have. Network equity never loses value, and you’ll never regret building it.