Creating a Strong Network of Residents, Online and Off

Dr. Hillary Tompkins, CIR National President

It is with great excitement that I am writing my first President’s Report. I have been actively engaged with CIR ever since I attended medical school at Boston University and have represented my colleagues on the CIR Executive Committee for five years. Throughout my residency and fellowship, I have watched as the practice of medicine and delivery of healthcare has changed on a local and national scale, and so too have we as physicians and as an organization.

We should be active participants in shaping how health care is delivered as residents and throughout our careers.

I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish this year. Led by a smart, enthusiastic and diverse Executive Committee, CIR leaders around the country are vocal advocates of healthcare reform, and we continue to speak out on the importance of maintaining Medicare and Medicaid, especially in this time of economic decline.

In July, I had the privilege, along with Massachusetts Regional Vice President Dr. Jessica Eng, to visit the White House and Capitol Building to tell our representatives to stand strong against blanket cuts to Medicare and Medicaid programs. Many of you also helped by signing CIR’s petition to our nation’s leaders. Thank you! It is important that our voices be heard when decisions about health care are being made and this was never so evident to me as it was during my time in Washington, DC.

As our hospitals and our patients are affected by the economic downturn, cost-conscious medicine and quality improvement are increasingly important. In this edition of CIR Vitals, CIR members discuss how they’re getting involved in quality improvement initiatives and efforts to extend and improve information technology. We highlighted some of these issues at our national convention this year and continue to engage in opportunities to improve care, such as our participation at the Telluride Patient Safety Educational Roundtable this past summer.

One of CIR’s strengths is that we represent residents across specialties and in all different types of hospitals, from highly-networked facilities to small safety-net hospitals that are struggling to implement an EHR for the first time. When we started to look at how technology is used in CIR hospitals, we found a range of answers. One resident at UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital actually developed his own iPhone and iPad application, which you can read about in the Resident Spotlight section. Residents at other hospitals have negotiated for expanded educational funds in order to purchase tablets, and are learning how to integrate those devices into their work. These are just a couple examples of the way health IT is shaping our experience. We would love to hear from you about how this plays out in your hospital or your work life. You can contact me directly at president@cirseiu.org, and also go to www.cirvitals.org to weigh in.

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