PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Challenges Set the Course for Innovation and Growth in 2015
Today the AAGL represents nearly 8,000 members that span the entire globe. The rapid growth of the organization over the last several years has also brought numerous technological advancements and associated challenges, especially at a time when the healthcare landscape has significantly changed. Over the last year and a half, we have seen challenges to not only the way we practice, but also within the leadership and infrastructure of our evolving society.
I would like to take this opportunity to outline some of the issues and initiatives that I plan to address this year as I serve as President of the AAGL. The first is no surprise, and that is the perceived controversy surrounding tissue extraction, which has not only rocked the very foundation of minimally invasive surgery, but also landed us in numerous articles by the Wall Street Journal. I am extremely proud of what our membership has been able to accomplish over the last year. The amount of solid evidence-based medicine and innovative techniques surrounding tissue extraction that have been produced has been incredible. This was clearly evident in the 43rd AAGL Global Congress and indicates to me that we have a membership that does not dwell in the past but looks forward in terms of bringing to our patients the most effective surgical options and techniques. I firmly believe that we need to continue to support research and the inventive spirit as we continue to tackle some of the most difficult issues in surgery while also making sure we educate ourselves and patients on new developments.
The bureaucracy of medicine and the outside influence of government, especially in the United States, have certainly impacted the way we practice. The FDA communications regarding power morcellation over the last year and the pending United Healthcare policy rollout involving vaginal hysterectomy and the required pre-authorization of various routes of hysterectomy are two big examples. Although I am deeply committed to defending the sacred dialogue between physicians and patients that ultimately determines treatment decisions, I am also cognizant of the importance of collaboration between outside influences such as government and our healthcare insurance industry. The AAGL should be an active participant when healthcare policies are developed and discussed. On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with congressional leaders, I saw that an open dialogue can be held to the satisfaction and benefit of our governmental leaders whose constituents are also our patients. Our goal is the same: to serve women with the best medicine possible.
This leads me to a third initiative for our organization, the concept of value-based medicine. Understanding the interplay between being able to provide the highest quality of care and doing so in a cost-effective manner is critical to navigating today’s healthcare landscape. This growing movement has challenged the role of technological advancements such as robotics in our specialty. The ability to provide our physicians with enabling technology and our patients with additional minimally invasive surgical options has not been without costs. It is our duty as an organization to be fiscally responsible when making clinical decisions while not losing sight of the importance of innovation and being able to provide patients with surgical interventions that may confer the highest quality for treating a disease even if it may be viewed as more expensive. Much of this will be driven by the transparency of our outcomes and the elevation of our practice standards to new heights.
Our rapidly growing organization has provided us with an abundance of talented individuals who are full of ideas and a desire to serve. I am committed to providing all of our members with an opportunity to have their voice heard. It is only through mentorship and an investment in our future leaders that we will move the pendulum of progress. I look forward to working together with our incredibly talented Board of Trustees to serve you, our membership, and the patients we care for.
Arnold P. Advincula, M.D., FACOG, FACS, is President of AAGL, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vice-Chair of Women’s Health and Chief of Gynecology, Sloane Women’s Hospital at Columbia University in New York, New York.
Filed under "AAGL Digital Member Bulletin".