ABSTRACT: Defining Clinical Excellence in Hospital Medicine: A Qualitative Study
There are now more than 50,000 hospitalists working in the United States. Limited empiric research has been performed to characterize clinical excellence in hospital medicine. We conducted a qualitative study to discover elements judged to be most pertinent to excellence in clinical care delivered by hospitalists.
The chiefs of hospital medicine at five hospitals were asked to identify their “clinically best” hospitalists. Data collection, in the form of one-on-one interviews, was directed by an interview guide. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the informants’ perspectives were analyzed using editing analysis to identify themes.
A total of 26 hospitalists were interviewed. The mean age of the physicians was 38 years, 13 (50%) were women, and 16 (62%) were non-white. Seven themes emerged that related to clinical excellence in hospital medicine: communicating effectively, appreciating partnerships and collaboration, having superior clinical judgment, being organized and efficient, connecting with patients, committing to continued growth and development, and being professional and humanistic.
This qualitative study describes how respected hospitalists think about excellence in clinical care in hospital medicine. Their perspectives can be used to guide continuing medical education, so that offered programs can pay attention to enhancing the skills of learners so they can develop towards excellence, rather than using only competence as the desired target objective.