President's Message: ASRA Collaborations with Other Medical Societies Enhance Member Benefits and Help Our Patients

Nov 5, 2018, 19:43 PM by Asokumar Buvanendran, MD

I am continually impressed by how well-known and respected ASRA is in the health care community. Although our focus is on supporting our members within the society, one of the best ways we do that is by actually going outside our group to educate, raise awareness, and influence important issues. Where we once had to do the majority of the reaching out, we find more and more that other organizations are coming to us, and that shows how ASRA’s influence has grown. We regularly provide input on policies and guidelines, share evidence-based research with key decision makers, and develop partnerships to expand our reach as well as learn from our colleagues in other specialties.

We regularly provide input on policies and guidelines, share evidence-based research with key decision makers, and develop partnerships to expand our reach as well as learn from our colleagues in other specialties.

The most recent example of this collaboration is with the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES). Jacques YaDeau, MD, PhD, of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, NY, and I presented during a panel discussion at ASES’s annual meeting in Chicago, IL. Dr. YaDeau’s was titled “Optional Regional Anesthesia and Analgesia for Shoulder and Elbow Surgery,” and my lecture was titled “Ideal Multimodal Analgesia for Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.” You will see ASES leadership at the 44th Annual Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Meeting April 11–13, 2019, in Las Vegas, NV, as part of a parallel session called “Moving Joint Surgery into the Future.”

A partnership with the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) enables Mark Forimson, MD, MBA, to join us at the spring 2019 meeting. ASRA has been working with AAHKS to develop the highly anticipated tranexamic acid guidelines for joint replacement, which will be published in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine and the Journal of Arthroplasty this winter.

At the 2018 World Congress on Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, held this past April, in addition to our sister societies, we also collaborated with the New York Society of Regional Anesthesia, the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists/Post-Graduate Assembly, the International Neuromodulation Society, the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS), and AAHKS. At this month’s Pain Medicine Meeting, experts from NANS will present the “Multidisciplinary Panel on Experiences in Advanced Neuromodulation Techniques” on Friday, November 16, at 8 am. ASRA representatives will also attend the NANS meeting in January 2019 to present a panel titled “Emerging Science for the Chronic Interventional Pain Physician: An ASRA Update” on Friday, January 18. When we presented this session in January 2018, it was standing room only. We look forward to another successful event.

Sometimes partnerships are planned many months out, but other times, they come together very quickly in response to a critical issue. Such collaborations are possible because of ASRA’s influence and flexibility. As you may know, ASRA offered a late-breaking session at the 2018 World Congress on Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine in April to address the ongoing issue of drug shortages. Invited guests included Dr. Jim Grant, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Paul Pomerantz, chief executive officer of ASA, and Dr. Ruth Landau, first vice president of the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP) and author of the SOAP Advisory in Response to Shortages of Local Anesthetics in North America. During that conversation, attendees learned more from Dr. Landau about shortages of hyperbaric bupivacaine used for emergency Cesarean deliveries and challenges some of the nation’s largest hospitals face. Dr. Grant shared ASA’s work toward a long-term solution to drug shortages, including lifting Drug Enforcement Agency production quotas and decreasing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) delays in processing generic drug application approvals and imports of pharmaceuticals produced outside North America. This summer, the FDA created a Drug Shortages Task Force to look for long-term solutions to the ongoing problem.

By offering a last-minute session, ASRA not only facilitated education on the critical issue but also brought the broader public’s attention to it. We received a number of inquiries from journalists looking for quality sources to speak about the topic, and both the lay press and the public became more aware of the challenges. In the end, ASRA helped to advance efforts to make meaningful change and reinforced its position as a key member of the health care community.

Partnerships help us build and strengthen multidisciplinary collaboration, which is certainly a key component of successful, holistic patient care. Our attendees learn from surgeons, neurologists, psychologists, policymakers, and many others—even patients—during sessions at our annual meetings. Likewise, ASRA can continue to spread the word about innovative regional anesthesia and pain medicine techniques and best practices to beyond our membership.

Figure 1. In July 2018, ASRA won a 2018 Profile of Excellence Award from the American Association of Medical Society Executives for its Introduction to Perioperative Point-of-Care Ultrasound Course.

A collaboration with the firm USABCD (which stands for UltraSound Airway Breathing Circulation Dolor) has allowed ASRA to continue to offer the Introduction to Perioperative Point-of-Care Ultrasound training twice per year (the next one will be March 2–3, 2019, in San Diego, CA). This partnership enables a flipped classroom format, which was one of the aspects of this course that helped ASRA win a 2018 Profile of Excellence Award from the American Association of Medical Society Executives last July (Figure 1).

Close ties with the Joint Commission helped to establish the use of regional anesthesia techniques as a performance measure for total hip and total knee replacement certification in February 2018. As a member of the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) Specialty and Service Society, ASRA led an effort at June’s House of Delegates meeting to add language about interventional pain to an AMA resolution regarding timely referral to pain management specialists. The resolution also highlighted that the AMA supports full coverage for appropriate chronic pain modalities and the expansion of physician-led multidisciplinary pain treatment programs. ASRA is also a member of AMA’s Pain Caucus and regularly collaborates with ASA and the Multisociety Pain Work Group.

ASRA continues to make a name for itself among health care professionals, regulatory agencies, and the general public. Our message is getting out there loud and clear: ASRA is a trusted expert in the effort to bring high-quality, efficient, and research-based care to patients with acute and chronic pain.

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