Internists as team physicians keep their heads in the game

This month we take an inside look at internists practicing in a field of medicine that's just a little bit different from the norm.

This month ACP Internist takes an inside look at internists practicing in a field of medicine that's just a little bit different from the norm. In our cover story, Ryan DuBosar interviews internists who work as team physicians, in charge of the health and well-being of professional athletes in sports ranging from boxing to football. Their schedules can be grueling and literally millions of dollars in revenue can depend on them, but the jobs also come with indisputable perks, especially for physicians who were or are athletes themselves.

On the clinical side, we examine the challenge of caring for cardiovascular disease in elderly patients. Often, internists must strike a delicate balance between too much care or not enough. While elderly people derive more absolute event reduction from some cardiovascular treatments than younger patients do, they're more likely to have serious comorbid conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes. Kathy Holliman talks to experts about managing appropriate care in this complicated subgroup.

This issue marks the final installment of Mindful Medicine, the column on medical decision making that Jerome Groopman, MD, FACP, and Pamela Hartzband, MD, FACP, have written for ACP Internist and ACP Hospitalist since January 2008. Drs. Groopman and Hartzband will still be writing for us, however, in the form of a new column, Gray Matters, which will launch in January 2012. Gray Matters will look at how patients and physicians navigate preferences, informed consent and other factors to choose a particular treatment from among all available options.

Finally, this issue also takes a look at the practical aspects of reorganizing your practice to encompass alternate methods of health care delivery. Stacey Butterfield interviews Farzad Mostashari, MD, the U.S. government's new national coordinator for health information technology, about making the switch to electronic health records (EHRs). ACP president Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP, writes about her practice's conversion to an EHR and the roadblocks she hit along the way, while in an accompanying sidebar, three College Regents discuss their own transitions to EHRs and patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) and the highs and lows that they experienced.

We'd like to hear your own stories about converting to EHRs and PCMHs—the good, the bad and the ugly. E-mail them and any other comments.


Jennifer Kearney-Strouse