2014 Annual Report: Message from Leadership
The theme of “Transforming, Thriving, Together” set the tone of the 2014 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠ in Orlando, Florida. This description vividly illustrates the trajectory of accomplishments, energy, and unity that characterized this past year for the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery.
Transforming Thriving Together
The theme of “Transforming, Thriving, Together” set the tone of the 2014 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠ in Orlando, Florida. This description vividly illustrates the trajectory of accomplishments, energy, and unity that characterized this past year for the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery. Taking a page from our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Guidelines, the entire Academy and Foundation strategic plan has been built and aggressively pursued by assessing the needs and analyzing the gaps of knowledge, advocacy, research, and member services for our members, and then successfully closing those gaps and filling those needs throughout the year.
Academy President for 2013/2014, Richard W. Waguespack, MD, has stated, “Our strategic planning process coordinates action with budgeting and provides continuity across changes in elected leadership and staff. It positions us to not just react to change, but to help drive and shape it. We are changing uncertainty to opportunity by monitoring health policy, scope of practice, and federal and state legislative trends.”
The integration and increasing efficiency and effectiveness of Academy and Foundation activity is a highlight of 2014. One of the best illustrations of the links between advocacy, health policy, education, research, and improved clinical care is the vision pursued by our Boards of Directors to provide relevant products and services: These will allow all otolaryngologists to have real-time, point-of-care, mobile access to clinical and educational material, appropriate to the immediate patient management situation, with decision support systems and documentation of applied best evidence. While still aspirational in its complete form, much progress is being made toward this goal. Improved mobile access to journal articles, evidence-based guidelines, and even textbooks is now available for otolaryngology-specific material. Mobile
The Bulletin too has expanded its offerings online and plans to further extend content to meet Member needs, while becoming more efficient and accessible.
But as we transform successfully together, it’s still important to acknowledge what will remain constant. As Academy Executive Vice President and CEO David R. Nielsen, MD, stated in the Opening Ceremony of our 2014 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO℠, “We have changed far more in the last 13 years than in all of the previous 105 years of our existence as a society. That trajectory of required transition is not likely to slow in the immediate future. In spite of this transition, our entire membership and specialty have worked hard together to ensure that we embrace and hold fast to those things which should never change—our integrity, our professionalism, and our focus on our patients and their needs.”
In recent months, as healthcare delivery and payment reform proposals and regulations are advanced, much has been published about physician attitudes, preparation, and morale. While some aspects are understandably quite negative—decreased physician satisfaction with clinical patient care, decreased productivity associated with electronic medical records and systems, distraction from patient interaction and professional relationship building, for example—the Academy has taken a leadership role in policy and action that will ensure a patient-centered focus for proposed models of care and their incentives. As a community of physicians and surgeons, otolaryngologists insist that we address reform proposals to provide better population health, better individual outcomes, and better use of finite resources, and that all solutions demonstrate improved clinical outcomes. We demand that proposals to reform healthcare be so valuable that physicians would choose to engage in them regardless of financial incentives, because they are good for patient care and improve outcomes, not simply to check a box or comply with a required regulation. Such proposals must help physicians do what they already want to do—provide optimal care for their patients.
As you review this report, look for the many examples of the added value of integrating our advocacy, education, and research enterprises with our member services and community outreach to ensure that we are not just enduring or grudgingly complying with reform requirements, but driving the positive change that we know needs to take place. We know that by taking this approach together, we and our patients will thrive throughout this transformation.