Academy president: Profession must adapt

November 18, 2013

Before Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, steps aside from his role as the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s president, he said he does not look back to recount his time in the office. Instead, he addressed the future.

 

New Orleans-Before Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, steps aside from his role as the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s president, he said he does not look back to recount his time in the office. President-elect Gregory L. Skuta, MD, now begins his term at the helm of the organization.

Instead, he addressed the future, advising academy members to increase their capacity for adaptability-in the current and future environment-and in the building of passion and dreams.

“The entire house of medicine is adapting,” said Dr. Sternberg during the AAO Opening Session, noting that the ophthalmology profession must adapt, too.  “We must understand and embrace the environmental changes.”

Those changes, he said, include the stressors of unsustainable costs in health care, an aging community with increased health-care needs, and a public that is increasingly demanding outstanding results with reduced risks.

This is especially important, Dr. Sternberg said, because these challenges arrive simultaneously with the retirement of ophthalmology’s most experienced and prolific practitioners.

Intensely increased demand coupled with reduced supply might be balanced, he said, by looking for novel ways to extend productivity, such as the new IRIS Registry and also by engaging patients to do things previously done in the office at home.

“We must harness technology to decrease patient visits,” Dr. Sternberg said.

Dr. Sternberg also stressed the need for passion and dreams, and for nurturing and attracting up-and-coming ophthalmologists with this passion.

“We must be seen as good at what we do, but more so, as a profession defined by people who are good, good at listening and good at really hearing, and good at talking and good at really connecting with our patients,” he said.

 

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