Letter from the Editor

There's been more talk than ever lately about patient satisfaction, due in part to CMS's recent inclusion of patient satisfaction data on its Hospital Compare Web site. Although the intent of providing these data is to help patients make informed choices, experts predict that how patients rate their hospital experiences may soon affect hospitalists' contract negotiations, incentive payments and bonuses. However, there are many unanswered questions about whether patient satisfaction surveys accurately capture data on hospitalist care and, if not, how they can be improved. In our cover story, Stacey Butterfield examines the patient satisfaction trend, why hospitalists need to know about it, and what can be done to fine-tune these surveys before they become a basis for hospitalists' compensation.

The heparin recall early this year left many hospitals scrambling to find alternative suppliers. However, the recall did not impact patient care in most hospitals, thanks largely to the efforts of staff pharmacists who went above and beyond to ensure their facilities retained adequate supplies. Still, the recall has raised questions about the safety of the drug supply and what can be done to improve it. Our story looks at the response to the recall and what it may mean for the future.

This issue also features coverage from Internal Medicine 2008, which drew more than 6,000 physicians, students and allied health professionals to Washington, D.C. in May. Of the more than 260 lectures, panel discussions and workshops during the College's annual meeting, we've chosen to highlight several that are of special interest to hospitalists. Read our stories on managing hyperglycemia, rounding on hospitalized elders, and developing sustainable careers in hospital medicine, among others.

Finally, our Letters to the Editor section features reader comments on previous articles about CAM, hospitalist scheduling models, and care of sexual minorities. Join in the conversation about these or other issues by emailing us. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Jennifer Kearney-Strouse
Editor, ACP Hospitalist