By Robert Hamilton, MD, FAAEM
There's an urgent need today for better integration in healthcare. Unfortunately, training and practice haven't quite caught up with reality.
Suddenly we're asking hospitalists and ED physicians to team up in ways they never imagined. We're asking them to think with one mind and act as part of an integrated team when they've been conditioned from medical school to side with their respective specialty's interests and to view each other with suspicion.
The concept of professional "silos" — and the barriers to change they present — have been on my mind lately. A few months ago, the hospitalists at one of the facilities I work at opted to join CEP America as Partners. Since we'd been striving for greater integration, I was thrilled by the news.
I'll admit part of me secretly hoped that uniting us under one organizational structure would work miracles. However, fostering trust and communication between our teams has been far more challenging than I anticipated. Even matters as simple as finding common times when we could all attend meetings and social events has been a challenge, but even more challenging has been working toward a common culture.
Whenever I catch myself wondering why we can't all just put our differences aside, I think back to my first clinical rotations in medical school. As medical students, we gravitate toward specialties that fit our personalities and preferences; and these traits are further refined and hardwired into us as we advance through residency and practice. It is at this point that "battle lines" get drawn between specialties.