Building a Reliable, Equitable Healthcare Infrastructure for Patients
Even as the positive signs of increased travel, people taking vacations, school openings, return to in-person work, and meetings and in-person gatherings gain momentum, it is critical that we remember and acknowledge the lessons that we paid a high price
Even as the positive signs of increased travel, people taking vacations, school openings, return to in-person work, and meetings and in-person gatherings gain momentum, it is critical that we remember and acknowledge the lessons that we paid a high price to learn and act on them as a profession and an organization to help prevent and manage future events. Equally as important on the advocacy front, physicians need to lead the charge that will create and maintain a reliable infrastructure that can serve all our citizens equitably and instill confidence in those it serves. The time has long come for the healthcare community to unite in putting aside differences, recognizing and overcoming biases, and evaluating the needs of all patients to address them equitably without regard to any demographic.
As an organization, we can and will continue to fight for systemic changes that help create affordable, equitable access opportunities for all while creating usable and reliable public health systems based on broad data input and efficient interoperability of the multiple systems that currently exist. These are significant needs that have been present for some time, and despite active pursuit of these goals across the house of medicine, few have been realized. Reality suggests at best that this is a longer-term goal pursuit. In the interim, the Academy continues to focus on quality improvement for our patients but also ramp up our efforts in creating “patient friendly” information for public consumption that can be consistently relied upon across the breadth of our specialty.
Realizing the need for this type of information, we launched ENThealth.org almost three years ago to help fill a void and desire from the public for unbiased health information in a language they could understand. We have made continued progress on this website during that period but can still broaden and improve our offerings. That was difficult during the pandemic, but as it continues to improve, resources will be freed up that will allow us to move forward more quickly. The COVID-19 experience exposed a number of issues, but in this area, it was quite obvious the thirst that the public had for up-to-date, reliable information and their willingness to consume information from all sources, exists. That was followed by severe frustration as many of these information sources purveyed “news stories” that were often inconsistent from day-to-day and unreliable at the best. The politics of the time served to worsen the situation.
Our policy of having all our medical content shared on ENThealth.org, in the Bulletin, on social media channels, and via eblasts written and reviewed by our expert physician contributors was validated repeatedly over the last 18 months. Even though it added significant time to the process, it was essential to creating the “trusted source” we aspire to be. The head and neck location of the coronavirus infection created an opportunity to educate the public on many aspects of the anatomy, physiology, and disease processes particularly in the nose, sinus, nasopharynx, hypopharynx, the laryngotracheal, and bronchial areas and differentiate symptoms related to COVID-19 and those of sinonasal and upper airway disease processes.
The Academy is excited to announce that we will be sponsoring the inaugural “World Sinus Health Awareness Day” on September 29, 2021, as a vehicle to inform and educate sinus sufferers around the world about the causes and options for improving these symptoms as well as how to differentiate these complaints from COVID-19-related maladies. In collaboration with Intersect ENT, this patient-centered campaign will be celebrated yearly and highlight a wide range of events designed to speak to patients in their own language. Please read the feature on pages 12-13 for more details.
I would like to congratulate the Awards Task Force, chaired by Al Merati, MD, for their hard work in recommending an outstanding first class of initiates for our new Hall of Distinction that was unveiled last month. These outstanding contributors to the Academy and otolaryngology over the past 125 years will be recognized by President Carol R. Bradford, MD, MS, at a special Panel Presentation on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at the 125th Anniversary AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in Los Angeles, California. A celebratory reception will follow. You can review our inaugural class on pages 8-9. Member contributions of their time and talents are the backbone of the organization, without which we could not exist. To these exceptional individuals, along with the thousands of others who have given so much, we salute you!