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PASHA in Argentina

From the December ACP Hospitalist, copyright © 2011 by the American College of Physicians

By Matias Tisi Baña, MD, and Daniel Grassi, MD, and Juan Carlos Morales, MD, and Sebastian Sevilla, MD

In September, hospitalists from the Americas gathered in Argentina for the second annual Pan American Society of Hospitalists (PASHA) conference. Its goal was to help strengthen efforts to develop hospital medicine as a viable medical specialty in South America. To that end, many of the talks focused on controlling costs, and improving patient safety and quality of care—key benefits of the hospitalist model.

In Argentina, as in the U.S., an increasing amount of attention is being paid to patient management, quality and safety in the hospital. It's no mistake that PASHA's meeting was held at Austral University Hospital (HUA), in Pilar, Buenos Aires, Argentina, a 170-bed facility built in 2000 that provides community care for patients at all complexity levels. The general admission hospital area is covered by a daily service of full-time hospitalists who care for inpatients and coordinate tasks with consulting specialists, as well as devise processes to improve the quality of care. It is the only facility in the country with full-time hospitalists.

Conference session topics included strategies for teaming up with pharmacists and nurses to improve care processes, how to institutionalize patient safety practices, ways to increase guideline compliance in hospital rooms, prevention of deep vein thrombosis in medical and surgical patients, management of inpatient glycemia, treatment of delirium and preoperative cardiac issues, smoothing care transitions within the hospital and at discharge, and, of course, the future of hospital medicine in South America. The conference featured much interaction among the speakers, who hailed from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and the U.S.—and the audience of physicians, residents, pharmacists, nurses and health care managers.

Next year's PASHA meeting will be held in Santiago, Chile.

The authors are hospitalists in the Medical Clinic Service at Hospital Universitario Austral in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr. Grassi is chief of the medical clinic service of the internal medicine department, and Dr. Morales is vice-chief of the medical clinic service.

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