I am writing this on my way back from a very successful AAOS annual meeting in Las Vegas. I think this is the 15th meeting I’ve attended, and call me slow, but I have managed to learn something each time. This year was no exception, but, most troubling, I learned I am no longer young.
After years of being a “young orthopaedist,” I am now well into my midcareer phase. A number of my contemporaries have taken over prestigious chairmanships, including Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, who chairs the Council on Research and Quality, sits on the AAOS Now editorial board, and is now dean of the department of surgery at the new Dell Medical School here at the University of Texas in Austin. The eminent surgeons whose august podium presentations I admired as a resident have started to fade from the scene. My mentor, Harry N. Herkowitz, MD, passed away nearly two years ago. This year, we lost long-time AAOS Now editorial board member Victor Goldberg, MD.
It’s with this knowledge that I take the reins as editor-in-chief of AAOS Now. I am honored to have been entrusted with this important vehicle for Academy communications. I will strive to keep it fresh and timely. But, I have to acknowledge that I have huge shoes to fill. S. Terry Canale, MD, now editor emeritus, was the publication’s editor from its inception in 2007. Dr. Canale took the old, stodgy AAOS Bulletin and created a vital newspaper, which offers not only updates on the latest in orthopaedic science, but also information not readily available elsewhere, including medico-legal, advocacy, and practice management pieces.
I am pleased to report that, after The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery and the Journal of the AAOS (JAAOS), AAOS Now is the third most read orthopaedic publication and well ahead of our competition in the news category.
Behind the curtain
As this is my inaugural editorial, I thought I would update you on AAOS Now. Why? AAOS Now is your publication. We will function best when you, our readers, know how it’s created and what to expect. Peeking behind the curtain will also give you an opportunity to suggest improvements, story ideas, and potential writers with interesting things to say.
So, who puts AAOS Now together? As in the television show “Law and Order,” AAOS Now is the product of two separate, yet equally important and interactive groups. The editorial board defines the content arc, suggests story ideas, and, for some stories, proposes authors. The AAOS Now staff writes articles; edits submissions for style, grammar, and syntax; organizes the accompanying illustrations, photos, and graphics; lays the material out in an attractive and readable form; and gets it printed and mailed.
This complex process is overseen by Mary Ann Porucznik, our managing editor. Jake Jaquet, the AAOS senior manager of periodicals, serves as the executive editor and makes sure the advertising agency sells enough ads to keep the enterprise afloat. We receive immeasurable support and direction from the AAOS staff senior leadership, including CEO Karen L. Hackett, FACHE, CAE; Ellen Moore, chief education officer; and Hans Koelsch, PhD, director of publications.
Many articles are penned by our professional writing staff, including Maureen Leahy, assistant managing editor; senior science writers Jennie McKee and Terry Stanton; and Peter Pollack, our electronic content specialist. Our contact in the AAOS office of government relations in Washington, D.C. is communications specialist Elizabeth Fassbender, who is also a frequent contributor. Having edited other journals and papers where doctors did all the writing, I can tell you the editorial process with our writers is immeasurably easier.
Where do the story ideas come from? The AAOS Now editorial board, just as our membership, represents a broad swath of the orthopaedic population. That diversity works in our favor. As Ben Carson, MD, said in his presidential address at the annual meeting, “If two people agree on everything, one of them isn’t necessary.” Thanks to Dr. Canale, I am inheriting an outstanding board, although we lost stellar contributors Frank B. Kelly, MD, and Stuart Hirsch, MD, as well as Dr. Canale.
The AAOS Now editorial board always holds seats for the chairs and liaisons from AAOS councils (Advocacy, Education, and Research and Quality), cabinets (Communications), and committees (Practice Management and Diversity Advisory Board). Additionally, we have 10 members-at-large. These individuals apply through the Committee Appointment Program, and I, as editor-in-chief, make the final selection. When a space on the board opens, we seek to maintain diversity by choosing someone who complements the existing members in terms of specialty interest, geography, or career path. Recently, we added a resident member, Andy Sheean, MD.
Content falls into one of several color-coded sections. Once you get beyond the front page and editorials, the largest section is the green Clinical News and Views, which accounts for about 25 percent of the page count. This section presents updates from specialty meetings, summarizes important new research findings, and offers practice advice and pearls through roundtables and debates.
Next, in blue, is the increasingly important Advocacy section, comprising about 15 percent of content. This section keeps you apprised of developments in Washington, D.C., that affect orthopaedic practices. As you will see in this issue, new rules are constantly being written, then revised. AAOS Now seeks to translate those rules from the obscure English dialect, bureaucratese, into a simpler “what-does-this-mean-for-my-patients-and-me?” format.
In the middle of each issue, in purple, is the Managing Your Practice section. In recent issues, this section makes up about 15 percent of the page totals. Readership surveys tell us that, given the rapid changes in electronic medical records (EMRs), reporting requirements, and other federal regulations, more practice management information is needed. Because practices are at very different stages, we hope to share experiences so that each practice does not need to reinvent the wheel or repeat mistakes.
As one of his last duties as an editorial board member, the incomparable Dr. Kelly led the 2015 AAOS Now Forum on practice management. He brought together a wide array of practice management experts who covered a variety of topics, including the varying challenges associated with group size, in-office ancillaries, contract negotiations, bundled payments, and the use of nonphysician providers. We will cover the material presented and the resulting discussions throughout the year.
The orange Research & Quality section focuses on diverse research topics from basic science and emerging concepts to questions of methodology and recommendations from evidence-based quality efforts to improve outcomes and safety of care.
In the rear with the gear lies the red Your AAOS section, which includes updates on important Academy news and activities. The “gear” includes the meetings and course listing and the orthopaedic marketplace, with information on newly released products and services.
These categories are intentionally broad. Often, an article could fit easily into two or more categories, and its final placement may reflect the source as much as the topic. From issue to issue, the balance shifts based on the areas with the most newsworthy content.
These sections may shift, split, or combine over time based on your changing needs and preferences. In the coming months, under the leadership of chief technology officer Bill Bruce, the AAOS will unveil a new, streamlined website. That website should prove friendly to mobile devices and improve online access to AAOS Now. Once this process is complete, we hope to develop an AAOS Now smart-phone and tablet app that will also provide access to additional online content, such as the recorded versions of roundtable discussions. We also hope this access will increase the “two-way traffic,” enabling you to more easily (and therefore more likely) to comment on stories or ask questions of the authors. Already, a downloadable epub version of AAOS Now is available, and you can follow AAOS Now on Twitter @AAOSNow.
Some subjects, such as pain management, are of continuing interest to a broad swath of orthopaedic surgeons and need regularly updated reviews. During the past decade, however, a number of new, but increasingly important, topics have arisen.
A few years ago, AAOS Now articles on online reputation management or EMR hacking would have been of interest to very few of us. Similarly, until they became a direct threat to patient access to care and physician reimbursement, the process measures the government uses to measure “quality of care” could put even the most over-caffeinated trauma rotation resident to sleep.
Although some of us have been measuring outcomes and studying care integration for years, most of us have not. We will need a forum in which to learn about these changes and to share ideas and advice. Simply put, orthopaedic surgeons’ needs are changing. With your help, AAOS Now can meet these challenges head on.
What do you really want from AAOS Now? Like many of you in the packed hall and overflow room, I was energized by our new AAOS President David Teuscher, MD. In an ad-libbed portion of his remarks (the text of which will be published in full in an upcoming issue of JAAOS), he stated you only need three bones to get through life: “a wish-bone, a back-bone, and a funny-bone.” It’s this attitude we hope to maintain at AAOS Now.
Dr. Canale retired leaving a great legacy and a positive contribution. But, medicine is changing. We can’t rest on his laurels. In introducing you to who works here, I am hoping you will not hesitate to send us your ideas and suggestions. What do you want us to find out for you? What do you know that we need to know? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org