Published: May 14, 2024

OTO FORUM: A Landmark Event for Private Practice Otolaryngology

OTO FORUM exemplifies our commitment to empowering private practitioners, equipping them with the tools and insights they need to thrive in an ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

In the charming setting of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, a recent gathering of minds helped illuminate the path forward for private practice otolaryngologists. The inaugural OTO FORUM, hosted by the Academy’s Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS; formerly the Private Practice Study Group) took place April 5 – 6, 2024.

Oto Forum Image 1This exclusive event promised and delivered an intimate platform for leadership discussions, and practice management strategies, highlighting the evolving needs of private practice physicians, their staff, and patients. The program was thoughtfully crafted to provide insights into the current challenges and opportunities of contemporary private practice. From operational efficiencies to navigating healthcare trends and payment reform, participants engaged in a stimulating discourse aimed at optimizing patient care and practice sustainability.

“OTO FORUM exemplifies our commitment to empowering private practitioners, equipping them with the tools and insights they need to thrive in an ever-evolving healthcare landscape,” said David E. Melon, MD, Chair of the OPPS.

One of the pivotal themes explored at the forum was the significance of practice size and structure. Sessions traversed the spectrum from the merits of smaller group practices to the nuances of consolidation, challenging participants to consider whether “bigger is always better” for their situation (takeaway: it depends!) Attendees delved into the intricacies of ancillary services, with a spotlight session on expanding audiology services and another on optimizing allergy management. Real estate investment and ambulatory surgery center ventures emerged as catalysts for practice transformation, underscoring the forum’s focus on innovative solutions. The event provided a platform for dissecting compensation models, contract negotiations, and the imperative of cybersecurity in safeguarding patient data—an indispensable aspect of contemporary medical practice.

However, the forum was not merely a platform for passive absorption of information; attendees seized every opportunity for active engagement and collaboration. Mastermind Roundtables facilitated robust discussion on pressing issues, while post-presentation Q&A sessions consistently ran up against the clock, with audience members and panelists lingering to continue the conversation. Indeed, networking was a cornerstone of the meeting. Attendees took full advantage of the chance to engage with industry leaders and peers, cultivating meaningful connections that will transcend the confines of the conference.

Otoforum Two PeopleDespite its focus on issues relating to private practice, the OTO FORUM was open to all Academy members and nonmembers regardless of their current employment situation, including residents. “We all can benefit from collaboration, innovation and thoughtful deliberation,” said Dr. Melon. Beyond the enriching program, the forum embraced the spirit of camaraderie and celebration. Attendees relished the opportunity to partake in the vibrant dining and social scene of Old Town Alexandria and nearby Washington, DC, with colleagues, amid the spring blossoms.

Looking ahead, the OPPS remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering private practice physicians, supporting them in providing excellent patient care and achieving professional fulfillment. Private practice otolaryngology faces pressures from all sides, but with gatherings like the OTO FORUM to help light the way, individuals can navigate the terrain with confidence.

Otoforum CrowdThe OPPS aims to be a conduit of information exchange between community physicians and the AAO-HNS, collating operational practice data to allow analysis and benchmarking, and vetting resources in an objective, unbiased manner on issues related to purchasing, reimbursement, payer contracting, business best practices, clinical research, new technology, medical malpractice, and more.

“OTO FORUM marks a milestone in our collective journey toward elevating the standards of private practice otolaryngology, inspiring physicians to embrace change and lead with confidence,” Dr. Melon said.

More from June 2024 – Vol. 43, No. 6