Letter from the Editor

This month's issue includes articles on changes in the practice of hospital medicine due to health care reform, admitting (or not) patients for alcohol detoxification, and building a heparin calculator into an electronic health record.

For years, hospitalists have been advised of the need to prove their value to their hospital's administration. But with changes in the works from health care reform that will alter payment mechanisms, patient volume, and the job market itself, that need is more distinct than ever. Happily, experts say hospitalists already possess many valuable skills for the new landscape of hospital medicine, from standardizing care to quality improvement. Read our cover story for advice on how to demonstrate your worth as a hospitalist, and to further refine the skills you've already attained in your career.

Speaking of improvement, Stacey Butterfield writes this month about how one hospital turned a tragedy—a 2011 tornado that destroyed St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo.—into an opportunity to create a new and better Mercy Hospital Joplin. Safety, convenience, aesthetics, the patient experience—and much more—were considered in the redesign of the hospital, which opens this fall. Read about what this state-of-the-art facility will look like.

Our other main feature this month discusses a common occurrence—being called to the emergency department to decide whether or not to admit a patient for alcohol detoxification. Protocols can be helpful in making this decision, but concrete evidence as to what the ideal protocol should include is lacking. Our article talks about the elements to consider, and how to handle challenges in protocol development.

Has your hospital developed a protocol for a thorny clinical issue? Email us about it. We're always happy to hear from you.

Jessica Berthold
Editor-in-Chief, ACP Hospitalist