I was one among many of the gray hairs that predominated the crowd at the local American College of Physicians (ACP) meeting in Bethesda. Internal Medicine is a beleaguered and changing field, and ACP represents its ideals as an intellectually minded and academically oriented organization. Of course, academics and primary care have been taking bit hits lately, which have had its impacts on the ACP. This year's meeting was limited to one day (it had been two for many years). The discussions and the collegiality were unchanged, thankfully. There was a vibrant discussion on the electronic health record and meaningful use by leaders in the field such as Dr. Peter Basch. And Dr. Sean Whelton of Georgetown sobered up the audience by demonstrating that, while the old timers in the audience had subscriptions to paper newspapers, only one of the medical students he surveyed had one. The younger generation thinks differently in terms of information acquisition, and the old-timers like us need to think about this.
One change that was very hopeful was the participation of woman as a coherent and vibrant group within the organization. They showed up as a large group to the breakfast interest section, were engaged, and were for the most part, younger. This bodes well for the local ACP. The new Governor -elect, Dr. Alice Fuisz, is an excellent physician-leader who will no doubt continue to encourage increasing female participation into what was once a very predominantly male realm.
It was good to see old friends, although I am bit wistful of times gone by. The new medicine will be more group oriented and electronically integrated, with physicians as employees, and hopefully, as managers and leaders of larger organizations.