Innovations, education abound at SHM Converge 2023
From awards to zombies, this year's meeting had a little something for everyone.
When the first day of SHM Converge 2023 ended in a zombie outbreak, it was clear this wasn’t going to be your usual medical conference.
The “outbreak” was part of a session titled “Survive! The POCUS Apocalypse” that took a unique approach to highlighting the uses of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) in the field.
Taking inspiration from the escape room craze, Charlie LoPresti, MD, SFHM, associate professor at Case Western University, and his Zombie Task Force created a session that featured six stations, where teams had to work together to find a clue to the mysterious zombie virus. Flashing lights, warnings over the PA system, and zombie makeup all added to the fun.
The session was originally planned for SHM’s annual conference in April of 2020, but a real-life pandemic got in the way. Back in person in 2023, the session received a standing ovation and a special message from the “President” of the United States, played by actor Jeff Bridges in a pre-recorded message.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your heroic efforts in saving all of us from the zombie apocalypse,” Bridges told the teams. “Thanks to your bravery and ingenuity, the city of Austin is safe once again.
Ingenuity was on full display everywhere during the meeting, from the 942 presentations in this year’s Research and Innovations Scientific Abstracts Competition to the Best of Research and Innovations from 2022.
The latter included a new workflow app, a look at a trend in readmission rates and research into new ways to manage patient discharge.
The GrittyWork app, which is still undergoing testing at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is aimed at changing the way hospital workflow is managed.
“Traditional measures of workload, like productivity, are truly insufficient,” said Angela Keniston, MSPH, director of data and analytics at the UC School of Medicine. “Measuring work is going to be more than just measuring workload itself, but thinking about those outcomes. How are we affecting patients? How are we affecting our workers? And how are we affecting our institutions?”
The expansion of Medicaid following the passage of the Affordable Care Act changed hospital care in many ways — and may have led to a drop in the rate of 30-day admissions. Chloe Carr, MS4, a medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk Virginia, presented findings of a research project that examined 30-day hospital readmission rates in states that expanded Medicaid after the ACA was passed in 2010, and those that didn’t do so until after 2020.
“Importantly, the reduction in readmissions was greater in states that expanded Medicaid compared to those that didn’t expand,” Carr said. “This difference may be due to increased access to health care that Medicaid recipients had, but this hypothesis needs to be validated in further studies.”
One thing that needs no further study is the excellence shown in the past year by SHM members and chapters alike. Four hospitalists were inducted as members of SHM’s 2023 Masters in Hospital Medicine program.
They are Alpesh Amin, MD, MBA, MACP, MHM, Margaret Fang, MD, MPH, MHM, Daniel Payson Hunt MD, MHM, and Danielle Scheurer, MD, MSCR, MHM.
“They join 29 other Masters in Hospital Medicine,” said SHM Outgoing President Rachel Thompson, MD, MPH, SFHM. “For a total of 43 from a universe of tens of thousands worldwide.”
A full slate of awards was presented in this year’s Awards of Excellence, including the Excellence in Humanitarian Services Award to Ilan Alhadeff, MD, MBA, SFHM, CLHM, and his wife Lori Alhadeff, for their work in creating Make Our Schools Safe, a non-profit foundation formed in the wake of their daughter’s tragic death in the 2018 Parkland school shooting. They have passed Alyssa’s Law, a mobile panic alert law named after their daughter, in 3 states and have formed 17 high school safety clubs across 5 states.
And this year’s SHM Chapter of the Year Award went to the Kentucky Chapter, with Dr. Thompson praising the chapter’s outstanding programming, highly successful membership campaigns and its identification of future leaders.
Brand new this year was the Unsung Hero Award, which was given to Gwendolyn Rowena Williams, MD, FHM, president of the Hampton Roads Chapter.
“Dr. Williams is the embodiment of a young trailblazer in medicine,” Dr. Thompson said. “And uses her perspective as a person of color and a first-generation American as strengths to bring a diversity of lived experiences to her initiatives and interactions with her peers.”
There were plenty of educational opportunities this year as well. Heather E. Nye, MD, PHD, SFHM, associate chief of medicine at San Francisco VA Healthcare System and professor at UCSF, and Rahul B. Ganatra, MD, MPH, director of CME, VA Boston Healthcare System, presented the latest Updates in Hospital Medicine.
These included discussions on the safety and effectiveness of the rapid up-titration of GDMT for heart failure after hospitalization for acute heart failure and a look at the best fluid resuscitation strategy for patients with acute pancreatitis.
And Khaalisha B. Ajala, MD, MBA, FHM, assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, looked at structural racism in health care during her session, “Rounding While Black.”
“We need more Black physicians in every field of medicine,” Dr. Ajala said. “Although hospital medicine is well represented in hospitals and academic programs around the country, there are many medical students and even residents who don’t know exactly what we do. The academic hospitalist is one key to addressing the disparity of Black physicians in hospital medicine.”
Thanks to all who attended SHM Converge 2023! SHM is already planning for SHM Converge 2024, to be held in San Diego, California, from April 12-15, 2024. You can register now for the early-bird rate here. SHM is also accepting speaker and topic proposals for next year’s conference! Want to be a part of the largest conference for hospital medicine professionals? Submit your idea at hospitalmedicine.org/speak24/.
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