Published: April 2, 2015

Spring forward

As we transition into the spring of 2015 the AAO-HNS is in the process of unveiling a number of changes that we hope will be of value to our Members.

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

dennenyAs we transition into the spring of 2015 the AAO-HNS is in the process of unveiling a number of changes that we hope will be of value to our Members.

The AAO-HNS hosted a March 13th “Otolaryngology Strategic Summit” attended by representatives of 16 Societies including the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA), American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), American Broncho-Esophagological Association (ABEA), American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto), American College of Surgeons, American Head and Neck Society (AHNS), American Laryngological Association (ALA), American Neurotology Society (ANS), American Otological Society (AOS), Otolaryngology Program Directors Organization (OPDO), American Rhinologic Society (ARS), American Society of Geriatric Otolaryngology (ASGO), American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO), Society of University Otolaryngologists–Head and Neck Surgeons (SUO), and The Triological Society (TRIO).

Collegiality was high and discussions were stimulating throughout the day. The overall themes of the meeting were communication, integration, and dissemination, and the mechanisms to accomplish these.

Several areas of collaboration were discussed including exploring an integration of specialty society committees with those of the AAO-HNS, developing and maintaining a list of specialty society committee representatives and preferred lines of communications for each specialty, working toward a true “Annual Otolaryngology Meeting,” and defining expectations and roles for all organizations that complement and reinforce each other.

The Specialty Society Advisory Committee (SSAC), chaired by Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, representing ASPO, will hold a meeting at COSM. Discussions will center around the role and value that this advisory group to the AAO-HNS Boards of Directors should assume as well as ways to increase the group’s effectiveness. There was acknowledgement that there will be degrees of interaction among the family of specialty groups.

Post event surveys indicated that the overall satisfaction of the meeting was 4.3 (1 being “poor” and 5 being “excellent”) and the value to the specialty was 4.6. There was enthusiasm for continued dialogue and regular events to keep communications open. I want to personally thank all who attended this meeting representing their respective organizations.

This year the AAO-HNS will move to a spring election to be held in May. The Election Review Task Force, chaired by Richard W. Waguespack, MD, recommended moving the elections to May to closely follow the Candidate’s Forum at the BOG meeting in March. Ideally this schedule will increase voter participation and interest in our elective process. The successful candidates will be oriented and integrated into their respective positions prior to the Annual Meeting so they can be prepared to contribute immediately. Guidelines for the elections were reviewed and campaigning activities more clearly defined. At this year’s Candidates Forum Gregory W. Randolph, MD, and Mark K. Wax, MD, were presented as the outstanding president-elect candidates for 2015.

Our annual meeting coordinators, Sugki S. Choi, MD, and Eben L. Rosenthal, MD, have unveiled a plan that will expand the learning opportunities in a more flexible co-mingled schedule at our meeting in Dallas. The Foundation will now offer Instruction Courses throughout the day as well as extension of other didactic programming into afternoon timeslots. This should allow our attendees an opportunity to tailor and organize their experience to meet their needs. Educational and social opportunities for our international attendees are also being expanded and stratified in a fashion that can maximize their meeting experience. Drs. Choi and Rosenthal have demonstrated exceptional leadership in moving forward these annual meeting enhancements. They will also be leading the transition from our current dual coordinator role (Coordinators for Scientific Program and Instruction Courses) to a single “Coordinator for Meetings.”

The obvious need and benefit of having a unified up-to-date curriculum for otolaryngology has been recognized for some time. Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, will be leading the AAO-HNSF MOC/Curricula Task Force to evaluate the feasibility of producing this valuable roadmap for both primary and continuing educational programs. Multiple stakeholders will be represented on this task force including the specialty societies, the ABOto, AADO, OPDO, and SUO. This massive project will benefit not only current trainees but also practicing otolaryngologists as they pursue MOC requirements.

We have experienced significant growth in the amount of international participation at our meetings and with our educational products. We have continued to try to enhance and improve the experience for international attendees. Conversations with our past Coordinators for International Affairs as well as prominent international otolaryngologists have helped shape our offerings to international participants. Our president, Gayle E. Woodson, MD, is in the process of selecting a task force to review all aspects of our international program. We value the participation and contributions of our international colleagues and continue to look for ways to improve their experience. James E. Saunders, MD, our current Coordinator for International Affairs, has been very active in the humanitarian community as well as helping us gather information on preferences from our international colleagues.

The AAO-HNSF has just released the updated version of our Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) on Adult Sinusitis this month. CPG’s require a regular update and maintenance process to ensure validity and appropriateness to patient care. This is a very work intensive process and we thank Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, and Jay F. Piccarillo, MD, the chair and co-chair of the workgroup that produced this update. I would also like to thank all of our volunteers at work on the clinical practice guidelines as well as the quality measures that are crucial for our Members as we move forward into quality-based payment reform.



More from April 2015 - Vol. 34 No. 03

Dr. Curotta, nurse, and a happy patient at Baucau, East Timor.
Australian otolaryngology outreachExpanded from the print edition
By John Curotta, FRACS, Director of the Department ENT Surgery, Head of the Discipline ENT Surgery, Sydney University, Australia, and Immediate Past President of ASOHNS Australian otolaryngologists provide clinic and surgical ENT services mainly to South Pacific island nations, to Papua New Guinea, and to Timor Leste. Our humanitarian missions are tasked to those with the least ability to access care and to training, mentoring, and supporting those who will continue their care when we leave. The islands in the South Pacific, while beautiful, are small, remote, and very dispersed—Tonga, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal), Samoa, Tuvalu, and Kiribati are visited. Kiribati is halfway from Australia to Hawaii, and has only 100,000 people on 33 islands totalling 350 square miles land (about six times the size of the District of Columbia) dotted over 1.35 million sq. miles of ocean. So there is little movement within the country and major difficulties for teams to get there, then get around. Timor Leste (East Timor), with a population of 1.1 million, is one of the newest nations. It shares a border with Indonesia, population 250 million. Four out of five Timorese live on less than US $2 per day. At Independence 12 years ago there was one doctor and the remains of a couple of hospitals and 90 percent of the population was unable to read or write. This is already down to 50 percent and the Guido Valdares National Hospital is running well with a strong educational ethos. Our ENT team consists of a surgeon, anaesthesiologist, audiologist, and a nurse or sometimes a surgical resident. The standard tour is one week, with four to five trips to Timor each year. Microscopes have been prepositioned but all other special equipment and medications are taken in. The first day or two is clinical assessment, including audiology, and usually 50 to 150 patients are seen and about 20 offered surgery. Four to five mastoidectomies and eight to 12 myringoplasties are done. Reinforcing instruction and training of ear care nurses, supplying medications, and reminding these people in remote places that they are not forgotten probably give more benefit than our few surgeries can accomplish.
Whether physicians like it or not, politics play a significant role in healthcare. It is tempting to ignore this fact, but to do so is a disservice to our patients and our profession. Accepting and embracing the situation allows us the opportunity to ensure that the impact of legislative policies on our patients is understood and that the voice of the physician is heard. Go, team, go Though physicians are thought to be independent, in fact we work in teams on a daily basis. Whether we are in the operating room or the office, we work with the anesthesiologists, nurses, techs, medical assistants, and administrative staff to achieve the ultimate goal of high quality, efficient patient care. We could not achieve our goals if we were not working together in a concerted effort. When it comes to advocacy, however, physicians struggle with pulling together, especially when compared to groups such as the trial attorneys or various nonphysician providers. Also, politics is a numbers game, and success is often quantified by who can garner the most signatures, who can raise the most money, or who has the greatest number of supporters. To increase the impact of our specialty’s message, we need clout in the form of numbers. To do this, we need to increase Academy member involvement in our legislative and political programs. Members of Congress are increasingly savvy at deciphering the number of otolaryngologists (constituents) represented by a particular initiative. So, every person who gets involved in AAO-HNS’ respective legislative or political programs ultimately helps us to achieve our goals. This “head count” is very important! Look for ways to participate in legislative and political advocacy, and show Members of Congress that all otolaryngologists are interested in protecting high-quality patient care. No ‘i’ in team Life teaches us that one-to-one interactions make the greatest impressions. By reaching out to a Member of Congress, we have the opportunity to make our message personal. There is also the opportunity to educate. Physicians have the best perspective of the impact governmental policy has on the delivery of healthcare. Our patients may feel the effects, but in most cases, they are not aware of the policies that lead to those outcomes. And though they vote on the policies, most Members of Congress are not intimately aware of the impact those policies have on patients and the practice of medicine. As physicians, we are the bridge between our patients and our legislators, and we owe it to our patients to advocate for their care. Fortunately, through the In-district Grassroots Outreach (I-GO) program, the Academy has staff dedicated to assisting otolaryngologists with arranging individualized interactions. These events can be tailored to each member’s comfort level and range from one-to-one meetings, practice visits, fundraising events, or larger town hall events. There is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in I-GO! So, the answer to the question whether advocacy is an individual or team sport is … YES. By combining efforts on an individual basis that make our message personal with a collective voice to make sure we are heard, we can achieve our advocacy and patient care goals. *Contributions to ENT PAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Contributions are voluntary, and all members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Federal law prohibits ENT PAC from accepting contributions from foreign nationals. By law, if your contributions are made using a personal check or credit card, ENT PAC may use your contribution only to support candidates in federal elections. All corporate contributions to ENT PAC will be used for educational and administrative fees of ENT PAC, and other activities permissible under federal law. Federal law requires ENT PAC to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of the employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.