IPC The Hospitalist Company, the nation’s leading hospitalist physician group practice company, announced that 37 of its Practice Group Leaders from around the country have successfully completed the first Fellowship in Hospitalist Leadership program.

The program, launched by IPC, is offered by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Division of Hospital Medicine and its Center for the Health Professions. It is the first program of its kind and it’s intended to provide hospitalists with more specialized training in the emerging hospitalist field of medicine. Hospitalists take care of patients while they are in the hospital, coordinating care among dozens of professionals on any given day.

Graduates of this Fellowship program have completed an intensive one-year training and education program designed to provide leadership skills to the hospitals they serve, with the goal of improving the quality of care and the efficiencies of the inpatient care delivery system.

The members of the first graduating class, selected from among the company’s nearly 200 Practice Group Leaders, participated in a variety of learning modalities, including core program seminars, executive coaching sessions, webinars and on-site meetings. In addition to learning leadership skills, the fellows also received training in quality improvement and patient safety. An important feature of the program is the mentored implementation project, where the fellows selected a key area in their own hospital, and, working with UCSF program faculty, developed and executed a plan to improve it, with measurable results.

“Our nation calls out for leadership from every corner of the political and economic arena, and this is especially true for our healthcare system” Adam Singer, M.D., chairman and CEO of IPC said in a statement. “With the UCSF Fellowship program, IPC is demonstrating a commitment to provide the clinical leadership so urgently needed to hospitals and post-acute care facilities. Forging a true partnership with healthcare facilities by providing more expert physician leadership is, in our view, the surest path to true healthcare reform.”

Robert Wachter, M.D., who coined the term ‘hospitalist’ in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996 called the IPC Fellowship program both transformative and groundbreaking. “We must find ways to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of hospital medicine. This Fellowship creates a cohort of physician-leaders who are trained and certified to do just that.”

Wachter, who is chief of UCSF’s Division of Hospital Medicine, serves as senior faculty of the fellowship program along with Ed O’Neil, director of the UCSF Center for the Health Professions and an internationally respected figure in healthcare leadership training.

A second cohort of more than forty IPC Practice Group Leaders has already started their UCSF Fellowship program. Anticipated graduation for this class is November 2012, at which time there will be approximately 80 Fellows in Hospitalist Leadership in the IPC practice groups.