Internal Medicine 2008: Focus on the Practice

ACP 2008 Washington DCACP 2008 Washington DCACP 2008 Washington DC

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking at the pre-course for Internal Medicine 2008, American College of Physicians annual conference, in Washington, DC. The topic of the pre-course was the focus on the individual practice, and was facilitated by the great team at the Center for Practice Innovation, including Michael Barr, MD, MBA, FACP, Paula Woodward, MPH, BSN, RN, and Maria Rudolph, MPH.

I really like working with this group first of all because Michael and Paula assemble entertaining and fun experts, like Gordon Moore, MD, Rodney Hornbake, MD, and Peter Basch, MD. All of these physicians, and fellow panelist, Maria Rudolph, are “current” in the field and honest and passionate about improving patient care, which includes being able to stage agreement and disagreement. It’s sort of East Coast, and I like it.

The second reason I like this group is because they represent the overwhelming majority of care environments for patients in the U.S. (over 90% get care from small practices). In terms of promoting patient-centered care for every patient in every system, these are the physicians who have both the ability to innovate and the fiduciary responsibility to make it work for their practice. Putting those two together makes for a perspective that is supportive of HIT and patient centered HIT (that’s what I observed) that succeeds for patients, and those who care for them. I think that’s what we want.

We were asked to provide some parting words for this group, and honestly, I feel a bit awkward being a teacher to this group of practitioners. In many ways they see a lot more of healthcare than I do. In any event, my parting words were that when it comes to HIT, they know more than they think they know, and are well suited to ask, “how will this work for my patient?” That and they should ask every patient if they access the Internet.

ACP enters the blogosphere this week with ACP Internist. A great move for this specialty society, in my opinion.

My visit was capped with a trip to see my colleague David Kauff, MD, from Group Health Cooperative. I have to say that I had to make my way through quite a bit of product placement (more than I would expect to see in 2008), and I wasn’t allowed to take pictures in the exhibit hall, but it was well worth the trip to meet up with one of my favorite internists.


Dr. Eytan,

Thanks for your post about the CPI and ACP Internist. You might also be interested in reading ACP Internist's six-part series on the CPI's site visits to 34 small practices around the country, in which our writer Jessica Berthold examines the top issues facing small practices and the CPI's recommended solutions.

The last installment will run in our June issue (; you can find the other five articles here.

Janet Colwell, editor

ACP Internist/ ACP Hospitalist


These are great reading – I enjoyed reading about the lessons learned by Michael and the practices the team spent time with, like Faith Protsman, MD's practice. They are really solving a lot of problems quickly because they have to, and that is energy worth following in the next frontier of patient engagement through technology. Thanks for taking the time to paste in the link,


Ted Eytan, MD