As I reflect upon last weekend’s 2016 ISA Leadership Conference, I am thankful to be a member of our organization. The ISA continues to provide rich educational experiences at minimal to no cost for its members. Drs. Torin Shear and Michael Shane continue to develop an amazing conference with excellent, thought-provoking speakers from around the nation.   As a short summary:

Dr. Mark Deshur discussed methods of improving quality by using information technology. While there are limitations as well as logistical challenges, there are many institutions that have utilized technology to better identify and improve quality of care issues. As a corollary, Dr. Avery Tung discussed the challenges, significance, and importance of addressing quality as a health care leader. Leaders continue to struggle with the “carrot or stick” methodology to institute change.

Dr. Jeffrey Vender eloquently discussed the challenges and meaning of leadership. He emphasized that while leadership is difficult to define, it is definitely not defined by a title or a position. Perception does matter and therefore, the “New” math is defined as

VALUE (perceived) = QUALITY (perceived) x SERVICE (perceived)

                        COST x TIME

Leadership requires the “5 C’s” to effect change:

            Clarity, Communication, Courage/Collaboration, Curiosity and Commitment

In addition, Dr. Vender also discussed the building blocks and challenges of assembling a High Performance Team. Success for a Multi-disciplinary Team requires complementary goals while Interdisciplinary Teams needs common goals.

Dr. Jay Mesrobian discussed his group’s experience and the lessons they learned when their anesthesia group merged with the large multi-specialty Aurora Health System in Wisconsin. He recounted some of their unexpected challenges in governance which provided lessons in building a better foundation when they later merged with TeamHealth. 

Dr. Sherif Zaafran presented the challenges of addressing out-of–network issues and discussed the legislative solutions that several states have implemented. He also discussed the ASA’s current efforts at helping to address this national problem.

Dr. Michael Fitzsimons discussed the recent increasing rate of drug diversions and drug abuse in the healthcare community -especially among anesthesia providers. While there appeared to be a decrease about 10+ years ago, the rate has unfortunately been rising since. He shared their experiences at MGH and attempts at solutions.

Lastly but arguably of most relevance, Dr. Daniel O’Connell discussed some of the stressors that impact physicians and especially, anesthesiologists. He offered some coping tactics of which “BE CURIOUS, NOT FURIOUS” was the underlying theme. He suggested that those who are able to better analyze those situations that create emotions of anger, agitation, or annoyance will not only better manage their own stress but be more successful leaders.

Every year this conference is full of relevant topics and rich with excellent speakers.

I hope that you will be able to join us next year!