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Opening Ceremony Makes Change the Anthem for Today and Tomorrow

AAO-HNS/F President Gregory W. Randolph, MD: ‘As we move forward, wellness is inextricably linked to future practice and workforce issues.’

Healthcare and otolaryngology are changing at warp speed. Some change is being enhanced by technology, while some remains the providence of tomorrow. During Sunday’s Opening Ceremony, speakers played off a Star Wars movie trailer to highlight the future tense of healthcare, and what it means to otolaryngologists today.

“Change represents an opportunity to allow technology to subsume more mundane tasks, to have technology become hidden—seamless—to allow more focused, humane patient care, and to change the computer screen/patient ratio to again favor the patient,” said AAO-HNS/F Gregory W. Randolph, MD. Currently, physicians are spending two hours working on EHR entries for every hour spent with patients, he said.

EHR and the demands of other changes are escalating burnout among physicians in general and otolaryngologists in particular. In response, the Academy has launched initiatives to help members deal with those pressures, including a Physician Wellness Task Force and a Physician Future Practice Task Force.

“As we move forward, wellness is inextricably linked to future practice and workforce issues,” Dr. Randolph said, adding that elements of the initiatives are “woven throughout this entire meeting.”

Dr. Randolph concluded his remarks by reflecting on his term as AAO-HNS/F president.

“It has been an incredible year for a boy from Flushing, Queens, a thyroid surgeon,” Dr. Randolph said. “I wish to thank Jim Denneny for his inspirational leadership and all of you for the most humbling, meaningful honor I’ve ever had working as your president.”

Following Dr. Randolph to the stage was James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F EVP and CEO. For all of the excitement of the opening of the Annual Meeting, he encouraged attendees to remember challenges in other parts of the Western Hemisphere.

“Our thoughts and hearts go out to our colleagues, their families, and friends, and to all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and the devastating earthquake off the coast of Mexico,” Dr. Denneny said. “As a community, otolaryngology always comes together during these times to support not only our individual local communities, but those of our friends and colleagues here in the U.S. and around the globe.”

The increasing collaboration with the global community has attracted attendees from 84 countries other than the U.S., including the International Guests of Honor from China, France, Mexico, and South Korea. It also has led to an expanded International Symposium.

Dr. Denneny reviewed Annual Meeting and Academy highlights, including:

  • Tuesday’s John Conley, MD Lecture on Medical Ethics will focus on physician wellness. He also cited “The Academy Cares for YOU: Confronting Burnout Together” Miniseminar, which will roll out details of the Academy’s wellness initiatives.
  • The release of a new AAO-HNS Clinical Consensus Statement: Balloon Dilation of the Sinuses, with a Wednesday Miniseminar that will explain the statement.
  • The Academy is addressing regulatory issues pertaining to the sale of hearing aids over the counter in three years and states passing bills on Maintenance of Certification and physician self-regulation.
  • Proposed changes relating to immunotherapy have been avoided through the Academy’s work with the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy.
  • The Reg-entSM clinical data registry has more than 2,000 providers enrolled.

The Opening Ceremony concluded with Dr. Randolph presenting Presidential Citations to individuals who have given to the specialty in significant ways.

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