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Career Spotlight: Romil Chadha

Written by: Dr. Romil Chadha
Published on: Oct 19, 2022

Romil Chadha
Romil Chadha, MD, MBA, MPH, FACP, SFHM

This is the latest in a series of interviews with hospital medicine clinicians connected to the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) to share insights, knowledge, and expertise about career opportunities, growth, and development. Today we hear from Romil Chadha, MD, MBA, MPH, FACP, SFHM.

Dr. Chadha is a hospitalist and serves as division chief for the division of hospital medicine at the University of Kentucky Healthcare, Lexington, Ky. He also serves as medical director for Physician Information Technology Services and is a certified Epic physician builder. He has been involved with SHM for a decade and has played roles in chapters, committees, and SIGs. Dr. Chadha is found in the data world more often than he should be. He likes to work on operational aspects of the system, and is passionate about improving the same. Benign hematology, oncology, and syncope are his clinical interests. Dr. Chadha graduated from the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, earned a master’s in public health from the University of Texas Houston, completed his internal medicine residency at Westlake Hospital, Chicago, and earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Kentucky, Lexington.

1. Why did you choose hospital medicine as a specialty?

Early gratification to help the patient is the essential part of my choice. I see the patient, analyze, diagnose, and start the treatment. For most illnesses, I see the results quickly. I love talking to our patients and walking them through shared decision-making.

2. What does your typical workday look like?

Clinically, I have long and intense days. I work seven days in a row and then take seven days off. The days start early, around 7:00 a.m., and go up to 7:00 p.m. Every day I begin by looking at overnight vitals, and laboratory and imaging reports. The next step is to see all patients. Then comes ordering further investigations or talking to consultants and families. During this time, there is fast-paced communication with other team members like nurses, pharmacists, case management, and therapy services. The last part of my day is documenting what I did for each patient.

Leadership: My administrative roles are recruitment, operations, strategic planning, and coaching for hospital medicine and building order sets, notes, and learning data analytics on the IT side. The days are packed with interactions with people and guided by the philosophy of continuous improvement. It includes a lot of balancing acts.

3. What’s unique about your career or career path?

One word to describe it is peripatetic. I’ve been to the research and education sides and am now in the middle of leadership and IT. The clinical part has been the foundation of all these pillars.

4. Describe an important milestone in your career and what made it significant.

It’s an honor to serve as the division chief of the largest division at the University of Kentucky, and my colleagues make it the best place on earth.

5. What’s been the biggest obstacle in your career?

Time — it’s always less than how much I need. That, or I need to learn to say no.

6. What’s surprised you the most about hospital medicine?

The growth of hospital medicine is good, but we need to focus on driving the growth of primary care. We are nothing without the support of primary care.

7. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Practicing as a hospitalist. IT, C-suite, or corporate roles and focus on data analytics.

8. What membership benefits offered by the Society of Hospital Medicine have helped you in your career?

Oh, this is a list. I can easily say that close to the majority of opportunities have come through SHM.

  • Conferences — SHM Converge, Academic Hospitalist Academy, Leadership Academy.
  • Networking — I get to know and learn best practices from the best people. 
  • Committees — I’ve served on three different committees and learned much.
  • SIG — We’ve created an extensive network of academic leaders in hospital medicine.
  • Chapter — I’ve been affiliated with KY Chapter since its inception and will contribute to its growth and excellence.
  • Fellow and Senior Fellow designations — I am proud of these. 
  • The Hospitalist and the Journal of Hospital Medicine — to increase my awareness.

9. Do you belong to any SHM SIGs (special interest groups), chapters, or committees? If so, which ones and why?

I’m the chair of the Academic Leaders SIG. We have a huge gap in connecting the academic leaders and this SIG provides a venue to learn and share expertise. I’m a member of the 
Performance Measurement & Reporting Committee and vice president of the Kentucky Chapter.

10. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

Find a mentor and be humble. I will quote Ramakrishna: “The tree laden with fruits always bends low. If you wish to be great, be lowly and meek.”

11. What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Keep an open mind; you cannot love your hypotheses to the degree that you cannot challenge them.

12. If you could trade places for one day with someone else (either a person or profession) in health care, who would it be and why?

The late Dr. Hans Rosling. As a physician-scientist, he brought data analytics to the forefront. He is the best person to tell the story with data and had a passion for swaying your mind.

Learn more about SHM and the benefits of membership.