Published 7/1/2018
Tanya Kenevich

A Bright Future: AAOS Leadership Addresses NOLC Attendees

AAOS is making innovative advancements in its strategies, outreach, and educational options. David A. Halsey, MD, AAOS president; Kristy L. Weber, MD, AAOS first vice-president; Joseph A. Bosco III, MD, AAOS second vice-president; M. Bradford Henley, MD, MBA, FACS, AAOS treasurer; and Thomas E. Arend Jr, Esq., CAE, AAOS chief executive officer, discussed multiple high-level, big-impact updates and what is in store for the Academy’s future during a symposium at the 2018 National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in Washington, D.C.

Member value is reflected in AAOS’ mission and vision. Dr. Halsey said that everything the AAOS Board of Directors does is primarily member focused. He added that the organization will continue to work on how it can help members achieve a more productive and fulfilling professional career, and new leadership members will help support that charge. “We have some fresh thinking, [which is] helping the board make good business decisions,” Dr. Halsey said.

Current and future strategies

Mr. Arend discussed the next steps that AAOS will take to strategically plan for the Academy’s future growth. Although Mr. Arend has been in his position for 14 months, he said he has talked to many members in that time and is thankful for their support.

In a perfect world, Mr. Arend noted, a strategic plan would drive all other strategies. However, in the real world, environmental and outside factors drive strategy development. To achieve success, governance provides strategic leadership in the execution of plans that AAOS is working on to enhance its future.

Strategy, culture, and governance are essential to a plan’s success and have become a focus of AAOS, Mr. Arend said. “They are the triad of a high-functioning organization,” he added.

AAOS has been focusing internally on culture and teamwork to make all staff feel important and empowered, Mr. Arend noted. “This is a collection of all of us, and I want everyone to feel supported,” he said. “No one can get anything done alone.”

Dr. Weber added that it is an exciting time to be in the Academy leadership, and that the board needs to “look critically where the Academy is going in the next five years.”

Discussions, interviews, surveys, and simple conversations have been integral to the leadership of the Academy during the development of its new strategic plan. As time goes on and the strategic plan evolves, various metrics and approaches will be updated and tweaked as needed.

“This is a living plan, and we need to be able to look down the road and make adjustments when needed,” Dr. Weber said.

Making the lives of members easier

Mr. Arend expressed that although the near and far futures of AAOS are always in focus, there are still many strategies, initiatives, and goals that the Academy must achieve in 2018. One of the most important initiatives is member value. “That is a theme with everything we are doing,” he said.

Dr. Halsey said one of the member values is the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery’s (ABOS) new options for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). According to Dr. Halsey, the working relationship between AAOS and the ABOS “has never been stronger” and has made certification maintenance simpler for all members. The AAOS and ABOS leadership have met numerous times over the last year regarding ABOS’ MOC program, and “we at the AAOS are pleased and enthusiastic with the changes that the ABOS has and will be making to its MOC program,” Dr. Halsey added.

Recent modifications include the following benefits:

  • decreased time from application to examination
  • redesigned website and enhanced diplomate dashboard
  • diplomate-specific communications
  • designated certification specialists
  • streamlined application/case list functions, including:
    • a 75-case limit for all recertification pathways
    • one application/one case list/one peer review
  • expanded and simplified uploading for Continuing Medical Education/Self-Assessment Examination options, including credits automatically being transferred to ABOS if claimed on the AAOS learning portfolio
  • ABOS’ Web-based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA)
David A. Halsey, MD, AAOS president (left), flanked by Thomas E. Arend Jr, Esq., CAE, AAOS chief executive officer, and Kristy L. Weber, MD, AAOS first vice-president, addresses attendees during a symposium at the 2018 National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

The ABOS WLA will be available in 2019 and provide another pathway for orthopaedic surgeons to satisfy Part II of ABOS’ MOC program.

On another important front, Academy members also have a growing need for advocacy, Dr. Weber said. Topics like opioids, biologics, use of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, and the revision of evaluation and management code have been frequent conversation topics for AAOS members and its leadership. “This is going to involve all of us,” Dr. Weber said, noting there remains a lot to do in the field of biologics and appropriate usage.

A place for education

Education is available everywhere, but the Academy is working on better ways to provide and distribute it. “We want to be the primary place to house musculoskeletal education,” Dr. Bosco said.

He noted that AAOS is creating a vast portfolio of online learning, which will include online courses, surgical techniques modules, tests, and exams. He added that personalized, curated, and downloadable education is integral to educational growth and that the Academy is “really putting a lot of time and effort into it.”

Dr. Bosco mentioned that the education does not have to be created by AAOS. As the Academy works with other organizations, member value can become stronger with consistent, optimal, educational content.

“Bottom line: There is a lot of educational content out there—we need to repurpose it,” Dr. Bosco said.

A fiscally responsible approach

A successfully developed strategic plan addresses fiscal responsibility and accountability in the front end and bakes it into operational processes. As the Academy strengthens its value proposition, it will do so in ways that either directly or indirectly improve the organization’s financial stability.

During the treasurer’s report, Dr. Henley recapped the Academy’s financial performance in 2017. Operating revenue was $59.68 million, and operating expense was $59.61 million. Operating gain was $78,000, which was $1.4 million better than budget. In addition, the Academy also successfully managed its investments, including its long-term portfolio and restricted funds (Table 1).

“The AAOS Board of Directors takes its fiduciary responsibility seriously in managing the organization’s finances so that they are used to benefit our members,” Dr. Henley said.

Ultimately, the combination of a thoughtful, forward-thinking strategic plan, an enhanced value proposition, and a fiscally responsible approach has positioned the Academy to be successful for many years to come.

“The board is taking a deliberate approach to re-engineering how it does business in order make sure our members receive the most value for their membership and volunteer engagement—‘form follows function,’” Dr. Halsey said.

Tanya Kenevich is a writer for AAOS Now and special projects editor at American Medical Communications.