It would seem the University of Mississippi Medical Center, St. Dominic Hospital and Baptist Medical Center are more competitors than collaborators when it comes to patient care.
But a first-time effort between the three Thursday at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, however, could be a game-changer.
Led by UMMC, continuing medical education leaders at the hospitals spent months planning a joint CME event open to their combined health-care practitioners. Veteran physicians trained in geriatrics, neurology and psychiatry shared decades of knowledge with about 100 people in presenting the three-hour program “Elderly Patients: Keeping their Minds in the Game.”
“I've been practicing for 35 years, and there's never been a collaborative effort between these institutions that I know of. Nothing,” said Dr. Mac Addison, a board-certified geriatrician at Baptist Medical Center who gave an overview of the major diagnostic criteria for various forms of dementia.
“Tonight, everyone's talking to each other,” said Elizabeth Franklin, UMMC's director of continuing health professional education and an assistant professor in the School of Health Related Professions. “At the end, this is helping patients.”
UMMC pediatric orthopaedic surgeon Dr. John Purvis leads the Office of Physician Relations, which strives to monitor and strengthen physician relationships both within the Medical Center and throughout Mississippi's medical community. That's promoted in part through internal and external continuing education,
Thursday's event evolved through relationships within a committee formed by his office that counts as members a number of physicians working at UMMC and in the local community, Purvis said. “A decision was made by the committee to try to collaborate, and continuing medical education was a natural,” he said.
Staff in charge of continuing education from the three hospitals worked tirelessly to bring the first-time collaboration to fruition. “We hope this format can be continued in the future with other topics,” Purvis said.
“I've always felt that the hospitals in town missed a lot by not sharing resources,” said program presenter Dr. David Richardson, a psychiatrist at St. Dominic Hospital. “We share a lot of patients. Hospitals working together and sharing knowledge is nothing but a plus.”
About 100 caregivers and continuing medical education staff from UMMC, St. Dominic Hospital and Baptist Medical Center took part Oct. 29 in a first-time CME collaboration at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
If hospitals come together on a particular topic through medical continuing education, Richardson said, “geriatrics would be the first thing that comes to my mind. We all have geriatric patients and different ways that we work with them.”
Richardson, who discussed substance abuse, depression and non-Alzheimer's dementia at Thursday's program, previously worked for both UMMC and Baptist. He remembers floating the idea of a continuing education collaboration in the 90s.
“No matter what type area you practice in, everybody has different patient populations that are good to share with each other,” Richardson said. “And, I have a fondness for all three hospitals.”
Other panelists in the CME program included Dr. Mark Rester, a psychiatrist at Baptist; Dr. Mark Meeks, an internal medicine and geriatrics physician at UMMC; Dr. Juebin Huang, a UMMC neurologist; and Dr. Ruth Fredericks, a neurologist at St. Dominic.
“This helps expose us in private practice to super-specialists at UMMC that we might not know about,” Addison said. “We prefer not to look at it as a competition, but for UMMC to become part of our referral pattern.
“To start this collaboration between the three hospitals with a continuing education event is genius,” Addison said. “Elizabeth Franklin made it easy for us to do it.”
“We share a lot of patients,” Purvis said. “Hopefully, this will open the door for better communication at many levels, but especially with direct patient care.”