At this year’s National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference, I had the opportunity to participate in a Satellite Media Tour (SMT). For those unfamiliar with SMTs, they are opportunities for TV and radio hosts across the country to connect via satellite with a production studio to interview a topic expert. My SMT took place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The interviews last from 5 to 15 minutes, and when viewers (or listeners) tune in, it appears that the expert is right there in the local studio, talking with the local host. I appeared with Abby Navarro, an 18-year-old freshman at Maryville College in Tennessee, who overcame ACL and meniscal injuries a couple of years ago. We discussed the increase in overuse injuries among young athletes, as well as keys to recovery in her case.
We spent more than 4 hours in the video production studio and spoke with more than 20 local regional, and national news outlets. In all, more than 13 million viewers got the message—orthopaedic surgeons get people back to work, back in the game, and restore an independent life. This is just one example of the many efforts your Academy makes to communicate with multiple audiences. Whether the outreach is to patients, to the media, to legislators and regulators, or to you—my colleagues and fellow members of the AAOS—it’s important to deliver a message of the value of orthopaedics. If you have not already seen the Value of Orthopaedics studies, told your own story, and urged your patients to tell how orthopaedics affected their lives, I urge you to do so on the ANationInMotion.org website immediately and often.
Your Presidential Line spends a lot of time personally delivering that message in various ways to a wide range of audiences. First Vice President Gerald R. Williams Jr, MD, and Second Vice President William J. Maloney, MD, and I weekly attend as many state and regional orthopaedic society meetings as possible. We want and need to hear what you have to say about the issues and challenges facing you and the field of orthopaedics. My travels have recently earned a heartfelt gift from Brian J. Galinat, MD, of Delaware: a 1963 LP record of Hank Snow’s rendition of “I’ve Been Everywhere,” recorded before Johnny Cash made it really famous.
Your AAOS Board of Directors, Councils, Cabinet, Committees, and staff also participate in conference calls on practically a daily basis, including liaisons with the leadership of orthopaedic specialty societies. It is a rare weeknight that one of the governance units of AAOS is not engaged in a telephone conference. Just as in the many in-person meetings that occur, all of these calls are focused on tasks necessary to implement our AAOS Strategic Plan, which you can view at www.aaos.org/about/strategicplan.asp
AAOS team communications
When it comes to the media, there’s no better set of communicators than the AAOS public relations department. They handle more than a dozen requests for official comment from the media on a slow week and more that that in a given day when we are in the national spotlight. They get the background of the story and prepare “talking points” before they confer with me or the best media spokesperson we have on the good news about orthopaedics. These are often calls that must be addressed within an hour or less, or we lose the opportunity to balance the story.
I want to thank all AAOS media spokespersons who have prepared and participate in this vital effort. Under the direction of Communication Cabinet Chair Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, and AAOS public relations director Melissa Leeb, we have a team of communicators second to none. If you want to learn more about being a media spokesperson, look for the free training offered at Annual Meeting—and see Dr. Hilibrand’s article on page 46 of this issue.
Over the past 16 years, AAOS public service announcements (PSAs) have garnered more than $150 million in free advertising. These PSAs, prepared in conjunction with specialty society and other partners, can be seen on billboards in airports, heard on the radio, or viewed on television. They deliver important public education and safety messages like “Read the Road,” “Decide to Drive,” “Diving Into Summer,” and “Digital Deadwalkers.” See them all at www.aaos.org/psa
Why a Communications Cabinet?
AAOS volunteer leadership is structured with three Councils (Advocacy, Education, and Research & Quality) but only one Cabinet, because all three Councils rely on a coordinated communications function. Whether it is working advocacy with social media through the AAOS Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AAOS1), Twitter accounts (@AAOS1, @AAOSAdvocacy, and @AAOSNow), and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/ameracadorthosurg); providing patient education through OrthoInfo.org and ANationInMotion.org; or promoting our quality initiatives through AAOS Now and www.orthoguidelines.org; AAOS communications are an effective and tremendous resource for you, your practice, and your patients.
The military acronym “HUA” means “Heard, Understood, and Acknowledged” and signifies the three essential elements of real communications. It is not enough to deliver the mail and hope someone opens it; we need to make sure that our message is read and understood. This includes our patients, our colleagues, those that control the funding of our professional services, and the public through a free press.
As your president, I daily review, revise, and sign correspondence that is initially drafted and vetted by a very talented group of staff and volunteer leaders. This includes letters to legislators, regulators, industry, and all others living in the House of Orthopaedics and sometimes the House of Medicine on issues ranging from the implementation of ICD-10 coding to surgical patient safety. When appropriate, I respond to articles or reports that appear in the media.
Orlando and MORE
If you have not made your reservations for housing at the Annual Meeting 2016, now is the time to do so and plan to register for a fabulous venue. Since our last meeting there in 2000, Orlando has greatly expanded direct flight, highways, and the convention center, and constructed and connected anchor hotels as well as dining and entertainment options within walking distance of the meeting. I will have several exciting announcements soon about special events and special guests to join us. Don’t miss it.
MORE is the Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence Awards and I was privileged to preside over the 10th anniversary of this event at NOLC in May. The award honors the print, online, and broadcast reporters and producers who have delivered our message, as accomplished story tellers of what we do and how our patients benefit from our efforts. There are amazing stories every day in your practice so don’t delay to nominate a media star and to recommend that your patients do the same or tell their story alongside yours on ANationInMotion.org
Does medium = message?
Regardless of the vehicle used—social media, radio, television, newspapers, letters, or face-to-face—all AAOS communication efforts are designed to support our mission: To serve our profession in providing the highest quality musculoskeletal care. They actualize our vision of “keeping the world in motion through the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.” They embody our core values of excellence, professionalism, leadership, collegiality, and lifelong learning.
Marshall McLuhan once wrote that “the medium is the message.” In that respect, perhaps the medium best suited to orthopaedics is the face-to-face encounter, whether with a patient, a legislator, a reporter, or a colleague. In the months ahead, as I go “everywhere, ma’am/man” for the AAOS, I hope to reach each and every one of you with my messages of advocacy, education, professionalism, and disruptive innovation that will lead to better outcomes for our patients.
To the house of orthopaedics: HUA!