Letter from the Editor

This month's issue includes articles on improving handoffs, monitoring vital signs, working with advanced practice providers, and more.

It'd be nice if patients were as easy to hand off as footballs—just grab hold and run. But being people, they tend to have a lot of individual characteristics affecting their care in the hospital. The perfect way for a physician going off shift to quickly convey all relevant information to the one coming on has yet to be found, but our cover story in this issue looks at recent efforts in that direction. Some researchers are looking at new technology—apps and EHR add-ons—that would facilitate virtual handoffs, some are focused on giving physicians more time face-to-face, and some hospitalist programs are trying both. acph-201612-improving-handoffs

Speaking of football, the medical director for the National Football League Players Association was a keynote speaker at a conference I attended this fall. Learn what he and his colleagues are doing to reduce the incidence and damage of concussions, and how those lessons could be applied to general medical practice. acph-201612-concussion-care-conference-coverage A related Test Yourself gathers questions about head injuries from MKSAP 17. acph-201612-mksap-head-injuries

Other feature stories in this issue look at how other types of clinicians and new technologies can be incorporated into hospitalist practice. We talk to hospitalist services with nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Experts offer their advice on optimal use of these multidisciplinary teams, while front-line hospitalists describe the benefits and challenges they've encountered in such collaborative work environments. acph-201612-advanced-practice-providers The pros and cons of vital sign monitoring systems are analyzed in another story. They offer a potential method to identify patient deterioration on the wards sooner, but only if the perils of alarm fatigue can be avoided. The article reviews the research on vital sign monitoring systems and how some programs have put them into practice. acph-201612-monitoring-vital-signs

Has your hospital tried out one of these systems? If you want to tell us about that or anything else, please send an e-mail any time.

Stacey Butterfield