The pinnacle of professionalism and education

September 2018 – Vol. 37, No. 8

The AAO-HNSF 2018 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience is just weeks away. Clinicians and researchers from around the world will gather to share medical research and knowledge in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery from a global perspective. The education program in Atlanta, Georgia, October 7-10, includes dynamic and exciting format changes like the Expert Series, Flash Talks, International Symposium, and Master of Surgery Video presentations.

Gavin Setzen, MD
AAO-HNS/F President

In addition, there will be a Panel Presentation about the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and rule changes proposed by CMS for 2019. It offers the opportunity to engage with thought leaders from our organization regarding OUR specific concerns and recommendations pertaining to the proposed changes, before they become law … your chance to advocate.

There are many challenges in healthcare today, and there will certainly be continued disruption and uncertainty moving forward. We are subject to burdensome regulations, challenges to our autonomy, and socioeconomic pressures, to name a few.

Despite all the chaos around us, we remain united in our unwavering pursuit to be the best otolaryngology professionals, research-scientists, educators, and healers possible. The inherent joy in “doctoring” and the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship continues to sustain and challenge us as we aspire to achieve higher levels of quality and excellence in our field. The AAO-HNSF is committed to being the world leader in otolaryngology education and research for our global membership and will continue to deliver the best evidence-based medicine for evaluation and management of our patients. Clinical practice guidelines, AcademyU®, and Reg-entSM are just some of the most effective tools providing value to our members in achieving these goals.

In order to further optimize professional education, we need to mentor and support young surgeon-scientists who combine their clinical experience and investigative skills to address critical issues in otolaryngology, especially as federal biomedical research funding continues to decline. Now there is an opportunity to explore the possible role of industry and the private sector in research funding and education, a consideration under review by the Academy Vendor Relations Task Force. Also integral to the future of otolaryngology education, training, and the workforce is concern regarding work-life balance issues, particularly for dual-career households in an era of burgeoning higher education debt. We must continue to innovate to create value for both the consumers of healthcare, as well as those who pay for healthcare.

Professionalism in medicine remains fundamental to all that we do, no matter the extraneous influences in our practice environments, as we focus on cultural dexterity, inclusivity, globalization, and strategic thinking in healthcare. Humanitarianism and compassion are increasingly important in an era of digital communication, social media, and artificial intelligence. Major social changes are occurring that impact society, patients, physicians, healthcare, and medical education. As medical professionals, we are governed by codes of ethics and commitment to competence, integrity, morality, altruism, and pursuit of the public good.

We must not lose sight of the social contract and the covenant of trust we have with our patients. The Academy will continue to support infrastructure to facilitate professional education and development.

The commitment and dedication of members and staff continues to yield milestone achievements worthy of recognition, including the recently announced 2017 Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery journal’s Impact Factor (citation report) of 2.444, its highest ever. Also, based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence, the OTO News and electronic Annual Report received Awards of Excellence from APEX 2018—remarkable industry accomplishments.

This month also marks the start of the Academy’s 2019 membership renewal efforts. As President, I have seen firsthand the commitment and enthusiasm of both our membership and staff in providing impactful programs and services that help address the ongoing changes in healthcare. As a result of this dedication, the Academy retains over 90 percent of its members each year and is able to provide many opportunities for our members to ensure high standards of patient care and support for our ENT colleagues in the U.S. and globally. Your membership dues make up about 33 percent of the costs related to publishing cutting-edge, peer-reviewed research; hosting more than 5,500 otolaryngologists and medical professionals at our Annual Meeting; effectively advocating on critical issues; introducing clinical practice guidelines and quality measures; growing Reg-ent; maintaining our vibrant ENTConnect community; and much more. I encourage you to renew early.