Renewal and optimism

December 2018/January 2019 - Vol. 37, No. 11

Our Annual Meeting and OTO Experience always leaves me with a sense of renewal and optimism after observing the productive interaction and energy generated across the diverse makeup of our attendees and members. This year’s meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, was no exception. The networking among the residents, fellows, and young physicians from around the world at education and social events bodes well for the future of our specialty on a global basis. I attended several presentations and meetings involving thought leaders from all the otolaryngology specialties both domestically and internationally, and the collaborative spirit exhibited will accelerate the next great specialty advances.

James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEO

There were a number of notable events, including the International Advisory Board’s initial elections, the rollout of our new patient-centered website, ENThealth, the Specialty Society’s expert panel series, our new “breaking news” features, and the President’s gala Reception at the Georgia Aquarium. We also conducted the initial meeting of our multispecialty collaborative to create codes for and value advanced frontal sinus surgery and endoscopic and open skull base surgery. Representatives of the AAO-HNS, AAOA, ANS, AOS, ARS, and the NASBS met together and laid out a plan to accomplish this significant ask in concert with neurosurgery. This critical project will take a year or more to complete.

I would encourage you to read our Annual Report later in this issue and the dynamic online version, which highlights a few of the achievements that have made a difference this year. These successes are possible through the collaborative efforts of our physician volunteers and staff. Our Communications Business Unit was very busy this year as we adopted our “We Are One” theme in conjunction with our new logo. Aided by the Information Technology Unit, it also introduced, our new patient-

centered educational website, and celebrated the Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery journal’s highest impact factor ever. On the advocacy front, we worked with the FDA on its landmark public workshop related to Sleep Disordered Breathing and regulations for OTC hearing aid sales. We also worked with private insurers on cochlear implants, surgical treatment of OSA, surgical and medical treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis, and -62 and -25 modifier payment denials with many other issues. We also launched a new grassroots advocacy website,, to facilitate member outreach to congressional representatives.

We increased the number of International Corresponding Societies to 71, conducted 11 joint meetings around the world, and held the first election for Chair of the International Advisory Board at our Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Our Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) and Quality Measures programs continue to be strong. We published two new CPGs and have another five in progress while producing 10 new quality measures and introducing patient-reported outcomes measures in the registry. Reg-entSM is moving into Phase II. It now has over 2,000 clinicians contributing data and is onboarding academic practices. We exceeded CMS’ data validation standards for 2017 MIPS reporting. By the way, we also facilitated clarification of the Joint Commission recommendations that will favorably benefit our members and their patients.

This year, we launched OTO Source, a single-source online repository for otolaryngology education ( We introduced Member+, a new feature for members to give them access to AcademyU® courses. And we reinvented our Annual Meeting education program, reformatting traditional Miniseminars and Instruction Courses to Panel Presentations and Expert Series, respectively, and introducing two new formats—Flash Talks and Rapid Poster Presentations.

Starting with next year’s February issue, the Bulletin will feature two rotating columns designed to inform our members of important issues within the Board of Governors, our component sections (SRF, WIO, and YPS), and an additional column by our

Specialty Societies representing the breadth of our clinical expertise. I am excited about the opportunity to share the insights and concerns that will be presented through the eyes of these incredibly talented groups as we strive to make otolaryngology better through our collaborative efforts. I would like to thank all these groups for being willing to convey their experience with the entire membership.

I have had the opportunity to participate in 28 local, state, and national meetings related to otolaryngology this past year. I continue to be amazed at the clinical advancements across the breadth of the specialty and the enthusiasm for taking care of patients that our members of all ages and practice types continue to exhibit. We all need to remember how blessed we are to be able to provide the services we do.