Because of my orthopaedic care, I can…dance…do a push-up…have an exciting life snowboarding…look forward to a career in the WNBA…zipper my coat and hold my mom’s hand…be independent…study architecture…be a better student…walk down the aisle at my wedding…do everything I did before my injury!
These are just a few of the comments patients shared with the AAOS as part of a new national public awareness campaign, “A Nation in Motion: One Patient at a Time.” Introduced at the 2012 AAOS Annual Meeting and launched last month, the campaign is designed to deepen the understanding of the value that orthopaedic surgeons provide, by improving health and enhancing quality of life for millions of Americans.
In addition, elements of the campaign are intended to be used in advocacy efforts to advance the overall reputation of orthopaedic surgeons and orthopaedic care. The key audiences include patients, the public, policymakers, and the media. The national launch included the following components:
- A national media outreach initiative, with a series of hometown broadcast and newspaper stories featuring local patients and local surgeons
- A national television media tour, featuring dancer and choreographer Christina Ernst, a patient who submitted her story online, and AAOS President John R. Tongue, MD, spreading the word about the value of orthopaedics in people’s everyday lives
- An educational board game, A Nation in Motion, that has players navigating complex bone and joint conditions along the road of life
- A website—anationinmotion.org—with an interactive version of the board game, patient stories, statistics, and fact sheets on orthopaedic access and value, as well as clinical news
The best value in medicine
A key message throughout the entire campaign is that orthopaedic surgeons provide the best value in American medicine. The hundreds of inspiring stories that AAOS members helped to collect illustrate that fact. As orthopaedic surgeons, we not only save lives, we enable people to live fuller, more active lives. With our help, orthopaedic patients can face their injuries and conditions with dignity, and many can return to work and the activities they enjoy. This is the story of orthopaedics.
The following story, submitted by Danelle Ballengee, of Moab, Utah, recognizes the efforts of her orthopaedic surgeon David Hak, MD, and is just one of the more than 450 stories on the website:
In December 2006, I slipped on ice and fell 60 feet. I shattered my pelvis and was stuck outside for 3 days and 2 nights in subfreezing temps. Thanks to a miraculous series of events, including my dog leading the search team to me, I was rescued and flown to ‘pelvis specialist’ Dr. David Hak. He pieced me back together and gave me the confidence I needed to stay motivated and rehab myself into top shape. Life is great, thanks to my doc!
During the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC), held April 25–27 in Washington, D.C., members of the Board of Councilors and representatives from state orthopaedic societies met with legislators. In addition to discussing issues such as medical liability reform, access to specialty care, antitrust reform, and increased support for musculoskeletal research, NOLC participants presented members of Congress with the A Nation in Motion board game. Key advocacy messages were enforced with game cards with messages such as the following:
- According to the most recent data, an estimated 99.3 million individuals reported musculoskeletal disease as their primary health concern.
- The demand for knee replacements will increase 674 percent throughout 2030. The United States cultivates an environment where orthopaedic surgeons continue to deliver the high-quality care and innovations that patients need and deserve.
Now that the website is live, AAOS members can link their practice websites to anationinmotion.org and share it with patients, colleagues, and key leaders in the community. (See “10 Ways to get Involved” for more ideas.)
Aggressive media outreach will continue throughout the rest of the year and will include publicizing Operation Walk USA 2012. Scheduled for Dec. 7, Operation Walk USA provide free hip and knee replacement surgeries to patients across the country, thanks to the generosity of device makers, hospitals and surgeons.
Spreading the word about the value of orthopaedics is both a challenge and an opportunity. Access to quality orthopaedic care enables people to regain mobility, reduces or eliminates their pain, and allows them to return to the work and the activities they love. As the U.S. population ages, the demand for orthopaedic care will continue to increase.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.anationinmotion.org
Michael F. Schafer, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet.