The department of medicine is one of largest and most diverse departments at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. It includes nine divisions: cardiology; endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism; gastroenterology and hepatology; general internal medicine; hematology and medical oncology; infectious disease; nephrology and hypertension; pulmonology, critical care and sleep medicine; and rheumatology and clinical immunology.
The department is committed to excellence in the three traditional academic missions of patient care, education and research. We serve all of Northeast Florida and provide an outstanding environment for learning the art and science of internal medicine.
Growing and improving
Over the last 10 years, the department has implemented several operational changes that have had favorable effects.
We established the Emerson site as the primary practice location for subspecialties. We began providing new clinical services, including the endobronchial ultrasound and interstitial lung and pulmonary hypertension program; navigational bronchoscopy; bronchial thermoplasty; endoscopic ultrasound and therapeutic endoscopy; musculoskeletal ultrasound; nursing home initiatives; and cardiopulmonary exercise testing.
We implemented “team scheduling” for all residents, general internal medicine faculty and some subspecialties, and we restructured the anticoagulation, pharmacotherapy, pharmacy hypertension and pharmacy diabetes practices to better meet the needs of our patients.
Among additional strides, the department has:
- Conducted ongoing audits to monitor lost charges for visits and procedures, tracking admissions throughout length of stay
- Eliminated unplanned clinic cancellations
- Expanded diabetes services and the thyroid ultrasound/biopsy program
- Implemented direct attending physician involvement with all patient visits
- Implemented the intern clinic orientation program
- Marketed the “Academic Physician Quarterly” departmental newsletter, developed multiple brochures and visited community practice sites
- Reduced cost by relinquishing underused space
- Trained clinical staff in specialty services, allowing for medical assistant service-specific support
We have also:
- Established new fellowship programs
- Increased board exam passage rate among residents
- Increased faculty scholarly activities
- Increased the number of faculty receiving Exemplary Teachers Awards
- Negotiated new and enhanced service contracts
- Offered continuing medical education programs
- Recruited talented faculty
The successful launch of practices at UF Health North exceeded expectations. This unprecedented growth was accompanied by strong clinical productivity at our downtown and Emerson campuses. Another important accomplishment during the last two years was the integration of our oncology services with those of 21st Century Oncology. The clinical excellence of the faculty, coupled with continued improvements in clinical operations, further enhanced our staff morale and patient satisfaction.
Education and research
In the education arena, scholarly productivity remains high. One-third of the presentations at the annual Celebration of Research event are usually made by residents and fellows of the department of medicine. Several of the divisions offer continuing medical education, including an internal medicine review symposium, an annual nephrology symposium, the women’s heart health conference and a musculoskeletal ultrasound course.
In addition to our ACGME-accredited internal medicine residency program, we have accredited fellowships in cardiac electrophysiology, cardiovascular disease, endocrinology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, interventional cardiology, medical oncology, nephrology, pulmonology and critical care, and rheumatology. The department has 95 trainee slots.
Scholarly activity among department faculty and trainees is remarkable. On average, the rate of scholarly manuscripts published by faculty is 1.5 to 2.2 publications per full-time employee. In addition, the faculty members give more than 130 national and international presentations annually.
These accomplishments notwithstanding, the department of medicine is prepared for the challenges of the near future. These include declining reimbursement for clinical care, further deterioration of payer mix, teaching demands with increasing regulations, reduction of research dollars nationally and a rapidly changing health care environment. These challenges will be met by the department because the faculty is versatile and adaptive to change.
We simply cannot rest on our past laurels. We will push forward to achieve new levels of excellence in patient care, education and innovative research.