Today's News

Saturday, February 16, 2002

William W. Tipton, Jr., MD

As implementation of AAOS 2005 moves forward, William W. Tipton, Jr., MD, recently reflected on the Academy's accomplishments over the past 18 months and looked to the future. Overall, he has seen significant progress towards the 'reinvention' of the AAOS.

"The strategic plan for the AAOS has been to maintain relevance to our members," said Dr. Tipton. "Otherwise we wouldn't have 98 percent of orthopaedic surgeons in the U.S. as members. It is a constant challenge to keep the Academy on the cutting edge of those areas with which we are most concerned - education, research, and health policy.

"Traditionally, with these core programmatic areas, the Academy has been likened to a three-legged stool, albeit a somewhat lopsided one because education is the glue that holds this stool together," Dr. Tipton notes. "And, to maintain its edge in this arena, the Academy has moved aggressively into electronic education. "Orthopaedic Knowledge On-line (OKO) is a major element of that thrust," Dr. Tipton explained. "It allows members to access information through the Internet, any time, any place - just in time education. It is all-inclusive - from diagnostics to treatment."

One area of concern has been the decreasing attendance at AAOS CME courses, according to Dr. Tipton. "There has been extensive discussion at the Board level about whether we should abandon traditional CME programming. However, rather than do that, the better choice is to make our courses more relevant through a different mix of topics and formats. We may see programs focusing on maintenance of competence, diversity, ethics, professionalism or patient education as a way to assure ongoing high quality orthopaedic practice."

Dr. Tipton said that one area that will receive increased focus during 2002 is for AAOS to become a pri-mary source of information and data. " This effort will begin with release of a major research project that is an outgrowth of the AAOS in 2005 vision plan. Improving Musculoskeletal Care in America is a series of comprehensive publications on a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. The first document - 'Osteoarthritis of the Knee' - will be published during 2002 and it will serve as a template for future such documents." He further notes, "One of our other missions is to enhance our relationships with key government agencies such as the FDA, NIH and CDC."

Health policy is the newer leg on the stool, but is one of the strongest, said Dr. Tipton. "We have a major presence on Capitol Hill through our Washington Office and have seen our grass roots advocacy efforts grow through our Health Policy Office in Rosemont. Some of the current topics we will address during the year ahead include physician fraud and abuse, EMTALA, liability reform, patient safety/medical errors and physician reimbursement." Although these are issues the Academy will work hard on, Dr. Tipton cautions that members will probably see government place its greatest emphasis on the war On terrorism and the economy.

As the Academy has grown, according to Dr. Tipton, "Over the past few years we have added two legs to the stool - communications and academics. Our communications efforts have grown tremendously and are aimed at several audiences: members, patients, legislators, and those who influence public opinions. Some of the major projects in this area are our playground building project, the eMotion exhibit and the newest - the D-Day Project."

"Our entry into academics was done in spectacular fashion through creation of our new Council on Academic Affairs, whose purpose is to assist orthopaedic academicians and academia to achieve their missions."

"The year ahead promises to be challenging," Dr. Tipton said in conclusion. "Namely, we need to maintain relevance for our members and their patients, keep on the cutting edge as technology continues to advance not only in the science of orthopaedic surgery but also in our ability to accomplish our core missions."

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Last modified 16/February/2002