Weekly Member Update - October 1st, 2010

October 1st, 2010

A Message from the ASSH President

One Question - Last week's results

Thank You to AFSH Donors

Physicians Appointed to New Institute to Help Fund Patient Diagnostic and Treatment Methods Research - From AMA

First-Year Residents to See Shorter Duty Hours - From AAOS


A Message from the ASSH President

As many of you know, I chose excellence in education as the theme of my presidency.  This theme resonated with me not only because I am an educator in the formal sense, but because as physicians, it is not only our responsibility to care for our patients, but it is also our responsibility to pass on the knowledge that we’ve gained to our successors.  In fact, this is part of the Hippocratic Oath we’ve all taken solemnly, and it is arguably one of the more important parts of the oath since it assures the proliferation of medical knowledge for generations to come. 

It also ensures progress in outcomes.  If we stand at this point in time and look at the immense progress that has been made in surgery of the upper extremity from our humble beginnings, it becomes impossible not to carefully consider where all of that progress should take us, and how we can compile all of the skills and knowledge that we’ve attained in a way that assures that the modern hand surgeon in training can truly become the sum of those who have come before him.  Accomplishing this has been my goal. 

Of course, the first step in such an determined initiative is to actually compile that knowledge and to then line it up in a way that is digestible.  That’s precisely what the Enhancing Education Task Force has done through the Spectrum of Hand and Upper Extremity (SHUE) Curriculum and the various pathways.  We have taken those documents and vetted them with leaders in the field, leaders with different priorities, with different backgrounds, with different goals, and used all the feedback to strengthen an already powerful idea.  I am grateful to all of those who participated in this weighty endeavor, especially Drs. James Chang and Martin Boyer who took the lead. 

Our next step is to begin testing this program, designed by the cumulative efforts of the best in the field.  Efforts are underway, with the leadership of Dr. William Seitz, to fund several pilot programs.  We can then begin to learn what it really takes to educate the modern hand surgeon – a talented surgeon who is given the chance, through an all-encompassing program, to truly be trained in the full spectrum of surgery of the upper extremity.

This should be an exciting time for all of us.  We are here to witness what may perhaps be the transformation over time of the education in our field from a mighty, yet fragmented system to a system with strong pathways to a unified body of expert knowledge.  My work and the work of all those involved has just begun, yet I’m thrilled with the progress we made this year.  Keep watch for more news in this arena; with the momentum we’ve gained, this initiative will continue to be at the forefront in our specialty. 

Signing off on my last presidential column, I wish you all the best.

See you in Boston,
Robert M. Szabo, MD, MPH


One Question - Last week's results

Last week, we asked you about your personal and professional internet surfing habits.  View the responses to the poll.


Thank You to AFSH Donors

The American Foundation for Surgery of the Hand wishes to thank the following donors for their recent contributions:

Andrew Chen, MD
Joseph C. DeFiore, Jr., MD
James H. Dobyns, MD
Mark Dodson, MD
John W. Durham, MD
Jesse B. Jupiter, MD
John A. Miyano, MD
Rick F. Papandrea, MD
Matthew D. Putnam, MD
Brian Peter Wicks, MD
Douglas C. Wisch, MD

Learn more about the AFSH.


Physicians Appointed to New Institute to Help Fund Patient Diagnostic and Treatment Methods Research - From AMA

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on September 23 announced the appointment of 19 members to the Board of Governors of the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).  Established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the PCORI is being set up as a nonprofit organization to fund research projects on the comparative effectiveness of various patient diagnostic, treatment and disease prevention methods.

AMA nominee Robert Zwolak, MD, a vascular surgeon at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, was appointed to a six-year term.  Twelve physicians are among the first 19 appointments, with experience spanning from large group practices and academic medicine to patient organizations, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.  The director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the director of the National Institutes of Health, or their designees, will also serve on the PCORI Board.  A methodology committee of the PCORI has yet to be appointed.

Under provisions of the ACA, the PCORI replaces the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research that was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The purpose of that panel, comprised entirely of federal agency representatives, was to coordinate federal comparative effectiveness research (CER) efforts to prevent duplication and encourage the complementary use of resources.  Learn more.


First-Year Residents to See Shorter Duty Hours - From AAOS

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has approved new standards for resident duty that are designed to balance a comprehensive approach to patient care, quality improvement, supervision, professionalism, transitions in care, and resident well-being.  The standards are based on recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine, as well as testimony from more than 100 experts and statements from 100 medical organizations.  Under the new rules, current duty hour limits of 80 hours per week, averaged over 4 weeks, are retained, but more detailed directives are specified for the supervision of first-year residents.  The standards also reduce duty periods for first-year residents to no more than 16 hours a day and set stricter requirements for duty hour exceptions.  The system will go into effect July 1, 2011.  Read more.