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an academic problem

Research: not just 
an academic problem

August 2015

Published in the August 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

We talk about the challenges that hospitalists face all the time, but in this month’s issue we explore a crisis brewing in academic hospital medicine.

The problem being faced by academic hospitalists “and it’s an issue that affects the entire specialty “has to do with the difficulties these physicians have conducting research. Hospitalists who don’t do fellowships often are at a disadvantage figuring out how to take their big ideas and properly research (and publish) them.

As our cover story explains, clinician educators interested in doing some research face barriers just about every step of the way. Most hospitalists aren’t going to opt for a hospital medicine or research fellowship that could teach them the ropes of basic research, and funding from federal agencies and foundations is increasingly competitive.

But challenges exist on a more basic level. Even academic hospitalists with some protected time say that time isn’t consistent enough to do research. And hospital medicine is so young that there is a huge dearth of mentors. That lack of guidance from more senior hospitalist researchers is cited over and over by physicians trying to get research projects off the ground.

Academic hospitalists also say that research may be a victim of hospital medicine’s runaway success. The clinical and educational demands on academic hospitalists are so great that, in many hospitals, research isn’t given the respect it deserves.

Or the time it needs. Academic hospitalists point out that hospital medicine represents a huge body of medicine that affects millions
of patients “and that only hospitalists have a handle on. Given how many hospitalists (even in nonteaching centers) are engaged in quality, process and clinical improvement, the field still has a long way to go to turn those projects into a robust body of research.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor & Publisher