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An introduction

November 2007

Welcome to the inaugural Today’s Hospitalist Blog. My name is Erik DeLue. Since the beginning of August 2007, I have been medical director for the hospitalist program at Virtua Memorial Hospital, which is in a New Jersey suburb outside Philadelphia. This is the third program–and third community hospital–that I’ve worked for in my eight years as a hospitalist.

A few quick notes about me: I began my career just outside of Chicago at St. Margaret Mercy Hospital in Hammond, Ind., where I started a 24/7 in-house hospitalist program with three other physicians. That group grew quickly and became very successful, and I became the program’s medical director in its third year.

I left in 2005 to start up another 24/7 program, this time for the Crozer-Keystone Health System just south of Philadelphia. Within two years, I’d recruited five more physicians as we expanded to cover the majority of the hospital’s inpatients.

My current program is one in transition, which probably is a situation that’s familiar to many of you. My role is to work with administration to shift the program from a subcontracted model to a hospital-employed group.

My goal for this blog is to generate dialogue on topics that are important to our practice as community-based hospital hospitalists. I intend to focus less on clinical practice and more on the political and operational issues that hospitalists deal with in that model.

One thing that has struck me during my eight-year career is how we as a profession are constantly reinventing ourselves; if necessity is the mother of invention, nowhere is that more true than for hospitalists. I want to write about aspects of our profession that are open to innovation and that demand creative thinking as we collectively shape our field.

Although I do have significant experience, I certainly do not claim to be an expert, and there is more than one “right” way to do things in our field. My sense is that the saying, “If you know one hospitalist program, you know one hospitalist program,” continues to be very true–but it will be less so as our profession continues to develop.

Much like the way that ER programs evolved, the manner in which we operate from hospital to hospital is likely to become more similar, not less, as our field matures. I hope that our collective dialogue in this blog will not only be informative, useful and thought-provoking, but will become a collective expression of expertise for hospitalist medicine.