AAOS leadership listens to members
Monthly teleconferences open lines of communication
Participants range from residents to emeritus members, academic to private practice orthopaedists and specialists to generalists. Discussion topics focus on issues such as Specialty Day and the Annual Meeting, orthopaedic education, advocacy, communication and member needs. Over the years, the dialogue has resulted in changes in areas as diverse as the committee selection process and Annual Meeting scheduling.
“The monthly conference calls enable us (the Presidential line) to keep our fingers on the pulse of our diverse membership. The feedback we receive helps ensure that the AAOS is always providing value to our fellows,” said AAOS President Stuart L. Weinstein, MD. “We learn, on an ongoing basis, where we need to direct our future efforts.”
Not every teleconference participant attends every Annual Meeting, but most have attended more than one. Residents found it “an excellent educational experience,” although “somewhat overwhelming.” Academicians focused on the poster and technical exhibits. Fellows with a subspecialty use the Annual Meeting differently than generalists, focusing on the educational opportunities during Specialty Day.
Participants also suggested ways to improve the Annual Meeting, some of which will be implemented at the 2006 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The feasibility of other ideas—such as holding Specialty Day prior to the Annual Meeting, scheduling half-day specialty sessions and spreading specialty meetings throughout the meeting—is still being investigated.
Education and advocacy
Generally, participants found AAOS-sponsored courses and products “excellent” and useful. Orthopaedic Knowledge Online (OKO), the Academy’s online educational Web site, was called “state of the art,” although several participants admitted that they haven’t taken maximum advantage of it. Residents found the CD-ROMs on procedures “most useful.” And the majority of participants make use of the patient education materials found on Your Orthopaedic Connection and refer their patients to the site for information.
Teleconference participants recognize the need for advocacy on behalf of orthopaedics and generally believe that the AAOS “does a good job.” However, some members called for clearer explanations of AAOS activities and results.
Most teleconference participants say that the AAOS “does a good job” communicating with members. Residents receive the Residents’ Newsletter and frequently refer to the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), calling it a “great resource.” Fellows cite the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, JAAOS, AAOS Bulletin, the daily e-newsletter Headline News and the biweekly Washington Update.
Participants have also been positive about their interactions with AAOS staff, saying that the AAOS is “an easy place to call.”
Meeting member needs
Teleconference participants learn that “meeting members’ needs is always on the agenda.” During each call, members of the Presidential Line always post two key questions: Is there any way that the AAOS is not meeting your needs? Are there any other issues you would like to discuss?
In response, participants have cited “fragmentation” within the orthopaedic community, the need for continued leadership efforts in the political arena, the establishment of standards of care, a greater emphasis on funding for clinician scientists and basic research and assistance in practice management.
Topics raised for additional discussion include recent developments on emergency room on-call requirements, reimbursement issues, ethical guidelines, maintenance of certification and educating pediatric and family physicians on musculoskeletal issues. In response to queries about maintenance of certification, AAOS Second Vice President James A. Beaty, MD, explained the current process.
“The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) is a separate organization from the AAOS and its pathway to Maintenance of Certification is being driven by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The AAOS is working hard with the ABOS on ways to assist members with recertification,” he said.
Each call has a similar ending. Dr. Weinstein thanks participants for their suggestions and extends an invitation. “Please contact any of us by e-mail if you have concerns or questions, and tell your colleagues to contact us as well.”
“We value these calls along with the other direct interactions we have with fellows; they are critical to our staying in touch and keeping the AAOS moving in the right direction,” he said.
AAOS fellows can reach Dr. Weinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org; First Vice President Richard F. Kyle, MD, can be reached at email@example.com; Second Vice President James H. Beaty, MD, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org