The growing season

July 2016 - Vol. 35, No. 6

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

Research and quality-related activities are a high priority and will be even more critical for our Members and their patients in the upcoming years. A significant portion of our budget is dedicated to basic and clinical research as well as quality-related projects. The 2016 Centralized Otolaryngology Research Efforts (CORE) leadership (including the boards and councils of all participating societies) has approved a portfolio  of 29 grants totaling $495,195. CORE has been in existence since 1985. The Outcomes Research  Evidence-Based Medicine (OREBM) Committee is completing a MarketScan obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) project that will compare single-level sleep surgery versus multi-level sleep surgery. Through their quarterly Bulletin feature, “Publications that may change your practice,” the committee informs our Members of key recent evidence-based studies that might change practice patterns. The Creating Healthcare Excellence through Education and Research (CHEER) network has completed two guideline gaps projects: Sudden Hearing Loss (funded through AAO-HNSF) and Tympanostomy Tubes (funded through  AAO-HNSF by use of MarketScan data).

The opportunity for clinical and patient outcomes research will expand as RegentSM, our clinical data registry, begins accepting participants early this fall following a successful pilot. The preliminary rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on April 27, 2016, enforces acceptance of both QCDRs and Clinical Data Registries as mainstays in the post-MACRA era. Participation in these registries will considerably facilitate participation in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) at all levels. For those interested in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) reporting for 2016, it is essential that you enroll in RegentSM as soon as possible. Please contact us at You will also be able to view live demonstrations of Regent’s functionality and observe the practice dashboard available to all participants.

More exciting developments

A number of factors have contributed to recent discussions centered on multiple aspects of Graduate Medical Education (GME), including future funding issues, effectiveness, and workforce projections. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) held hearings on the 80-hour work week and accepted testimony on areas of success and concern. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) recently held a National Invitational Conference on the “Future of Surgical Training.” This was attended by the house of surgical specialties, and while some nuances specific to each specialty were identified, there were many common concepts identified, including the future use of simulation technology. The Academy has had an active Simulation Task Force for several years that was recently converted to an education committee chaired by Ellen S. Deutsch, MD. At this year’s Annual Meeting & OTO EXPOSM there will be a simulation reception demonstration. If you wish to participate, please submit your project through the Annual Meeting website.

I recently heard Manny Dominguez, PhD, at digitalNow (a summit for association leaders), describe the virtual hospital he created for the Veterans Health Administration. The graphics and interactive capability of the avatars were incredible. The potential of this technology in surgical training, patient training and education, skills assessment, and population management is truly exciting. Programs such as this will also enhance the capability of telemedicine and telehealth activities, which will become particularly beneficial as we face potential physician shortages and access problems predicted for the near future.

I attended a recent FDA hearing on hearing aids and sound amplifying devices, which included over-the-counter availability of these products and concerns about the ability of patients to properly use and maximally benefit from these devices without a comprehensive aural rehabilitation. Instructional products of the quality demonstrated by Dr. Dominguez could be a powerful adjunct for patients should those sales be allowed. These could be produced by hearing professionals and the industry with such quality that patients would benefit significantly.

Physician-astronaut keynote

I am very excited about this year’s Annual Meeting Opening Ceremony in San Diego. We have engaged a dynamic speaker, Mae Jemison, MD, a physician-entrepreneur-astronaut who conducted research aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. She currently leads the 100 Year Starship (100YSS), an initiative seed-funded by DOD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), to assure the capability for human interstellar space travel to another star is possible within the next 100 years. Her inspirational and futuristic comments will be a must for meeting attendees. Don’t miss her amazing presentation!