AAOS President Dr. Daniel Berry: 4 Thoughts on the Future

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recently named Daniel Berry, MD, chair of the orthopedic surgery department at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., as president for 2011. Dr. Berry succeeds John Callaghan, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Health Systems in Iowa City. Dr. Berry discusses his goals for the Academy over the next year and how orthopedics is changing in the face of healthcare reform.

1. Goals for next year. Over the past several years, AAOS leadership has worked on the continuation of long-term goals sustained from one president to the next, and this year will be no different. "Last year, Dr. Callaghan did a lot with furthering efforts in musculoskeletal quality care and we'll work hard on continuing that this year," said Dr. Berry. As part of the quality improvement efforts, the Academy will continue examining and setting forth appropriate clinical use guidelines. In 2010, the Academy has produced guidelines on several procedures, including vertebroplasty and rotator cuff repair. The guidelines are based on strong clinical evidence and reviewed by medical professionals as well as AAOS leadership before the organization publishes them.

Dr. Berry also plans to lead the organization in examining communication and education efforts. "As technology changes rapidly, there are suddenly many ways we can help members learn," says Dr. Berry. "This includes using new technologies to make orthopaedic education more accessible and more effective."

2. Promoting and expanding OrthoPortal. AAOS created and recently launched OrthoPortal, a website that is intended to serve as a single access point for orthopedic surgeons and patients to access information about musculoskeletal care. "It's an easy and simple place for people to gather information," says Dr. Berry. "Whereas people used to have to fight to find information from several different sources, now they can go to one place and find the information and links they need. We think it can be a nice resource tool and we are working with professional journals so we can provide linked content for users who have access to those journals."

3. Challenges facing surgeons from healthcare reform.
Orthopedic surgeons, along with all other medical professionals, face several challenges as healthcare reform progresses. The legislation is still in the early forms of implementation and parts of it are still being written, which means even understanding the legislation can be challenging. "It will be important for people to stay tuned and understand what those rules have to say," says Dr. Berry. "There are a lot of unknowns and people have to sort out how they will run their practices and their lives. It's challenging to plan for the future when there are so many unknowns."

4. Evidence based medicine in orthopedics.
Orthopedics has always been a fast-moving specialty with constant technological advances. However, a new focus on lowering the cost of healthcare emphasizes practicing evidence-based medicine, which means payors are asking for strong studies that prove a new procedure or technology is effective. "Just because a device or procedure is new doesn't mean its better," says Dr. Berry. "The Academy has been examining high level studies to demonstrate what works most effectively. If we find something that isn't so effective, we have to let people know that too."

The high level studies necessary for the Academy and other organizations to use when developing clinical guidelines are difficult and expensive to produce. However, this level of examination is important for orthopedic surgeons to prove which operative and non-operative treatments produce the best outcomes and are the most cost effective. "In orthopedics, we have a lot of outstanding treatments that have been proven to be highly cost effective, for example, hip and knee replacements.," says Dr. Berry. "Some treatments are more cost-effective than others. As new methods develop, we'll learn which are the most effective for patients and which are the most cost effective."

Learn more about Dr. Daniel Berry.

Learn more about AAOS.

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