Commitment and collaboration

October 2016 - Vol. 35, No. 9
James C. Denneny III, MD AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEO

James C. Denneny III, MD

Even the most casual observer who attended our meeting in San Diego would recognize the massive amount of work that goes into staging our Annual Meeting. The teamwork between our staff and otolaryngologists worldwide and spectrum of practice situations is truly amazing. The time our volunteer Members contribute to making this meeting truly outstanding mirrors the efforts given by otolaryngologists of all specialty areas in collaborative projects throughout the year. There are many examples of our Members and sister societies stepping up to help the specialty, particularly in advocacy and education.

The Annual Meeting is a perfect example of  the time and talent donated on behalf of our specialty and its patients. The Program Advisory Committee and Instruction Course Advisory Committee dedicated hundreds of hours to ensure the best and most relevant materials were selected for presentation. The 793 Instruction Courses, Miniseminars, oral presentations, and Named Lectures required several thousand hours of preparation on top of all the years of study to gain the expertise to give the presentations. An additional 375 Poster Presentations, requiring substantial work and time, further enhanced the style and diversity of this year’s offerings.

The Academy and Foundation have more than 50 committees and task forces with more than 900 volunteer Members, who have made multiyear commitments to help us fulfill our mission and “empower our Members to deliver the best patient care.” Committee and taskforce activities vary, but all rely on the consistent production of their Members.

In addition to committee duties, we have a group of clinical experts representing all areas of the specialty who made themselves available for fast turnaround analysis and recommendations in response to changing regulatory and payment situations. This group has been called upon this year on projects related to functional endoscopic sinus surgery, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report on hearing devices, the ACGME position on the 80-hour work week for residents, concurrent surgery, balloon sinus ostial dilation, and the subject of “single use devices” by otolaryngologists to name a few. Potential changes in these areas could have devastating effects on the day-to-day practice of otolaryngology as we know it.

It is particularly noteworthy that the specialty societies within otolaryngology have generously collaborated with the AAO-HNS to guarantee that concerns within their respective areas are addressed with the most relevant and contemporary recommendations presented in a unified fashion. Responses of this nature carry considerably more weight and tend to be more comprehensive in scope. Prime examples of this type of cooperation include the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, AAO-HNS, and American Rhinologic Society effort in the CMS mandated review of the FESS codes; the AAO-HNS, American Neurotology Society, and American Otological Society effort related to implantable hearing devices; and the AAO-HNS, American Broncho-Esophagological Association, and American Laryngological Association collaboration on the recently presented operative laryngeal codes.

The largest project of recent times, the creation and operation of our Clinical Data Registry, embodies the efforts of all otolaryngologists and specialty societies, including the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto). The commitment to provide clinically appropriate quality measures for patients across our spectrum of care has united the family of otolaryngology to accomplish this monumental task. To provide our Members with the ability to use our registry for quality reporting and participate in the MOC process, we have worked closely with ABOto and their volunteer leaders as well as clinicians chosen by each respective specialty society to create our Clinical Advisory Committees who are responsible for recommending measures appropriate for each specialty area. If you have not signed up to participate in RegentSM, now is the time to add your name to the list.

The evolution of the healthcare delivery system will mandate optimal “synchrony” of the resources available to participate meaningfully on behalf of our patients across the full breadth of the specialty. The future ability to determine the most effective management of the diseases we treat will depend on the continued collaborative efforts across otolaryngology and the incredible volunteer spirit demonstrated by our Members. If you would like to join this effort, please contact us at