Record number of ICLs at 2008 Annual Meeting

By: Elaine Fiedler

By Elaine Fiedler

Increased emphasis on ethics, practice management
As far as Frederick M. Azar, MD, is concerned, this year’s Instructional Course Lectures (ICLs) may be among the most popular ever. Dr. Azar, who chaired the Instructional Courses Committee, views this as a landmark year for the courses.

“The 2008 Annual Meeting will be great,” he says. “We’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of AAOS at a wonderful site with a record number of ICLs—184 courses, not counting communications skills workshops.”

In addition to the more than 26,000 current registrants for the courses, Dr. Azar anticipates that many more attendees will register on site.

This morning’s Instructional Course Lecture on Expert Witness Testimony will include a mock trial, such as this one conducted during the 2006 Annual Meeting.

A difficult selection process
Choosing courses for each meeting is a complicated process, admits Dr. Azar. Each year, more course proposals on a wider variety of topics are submitted for consideration. For the 2008 meeting, 119 new course proposals were submitted to fill the 18 open slots.

The 7-member Instructional Courses Committee is faced with the tough task of selecting new courses. A certain amount of coursework is devoted to distinct sets of clinical practice. The committee also tries to include subspecialty courses. As they begin to develop the ICL schedule, committee members review the previous year’s courses and consider attendee feedback from it. Courses that have been well-received may be repeated, while those that are marginal may be replaced. Attendee feedback is an important element in the committee’s decisions.

New course submissions undergo a blind review. Some are cobranded with specialty societies, but reviewers aren’t told which group submitted the proposals. Each committee member reviews and scores the proposed courses; the review scores are averaged, and the courses with the highest marks are selected.

An evolving educational experience
“The ICLs have evolved a great deal over the years,” says Dr. Azar. Lectures and demonstrations have become video-intensive, replacing cadaver demonstrations. Case-based courses invite audience participation, which is enhanced by use of the audience response system.

The increased demand for audience participation has also resulted in a revamping of courses to allow additional time for discussion. In 2008, discussion time will double—from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

More non-clinical courses—focused on ethics, financial issues, and practice management—are also part of the mix. “There’s an increasing awareness of orthopaedic surgeons as business owners,” says Dr. Azar, “and a growing interest in courses with a business perspective.” As a result, topics such as “Your practice financials: The funnel to your W2,” “Implementation of electronic medical records in orthopaedic practices,” and “Thinking before spending: A guide to measurable results in marketing” are among this year’s offerings. The Orthopaedic Review Course has also been updated, with Scott W. Wolfe, MD, as course chairman, and the addition of some new faculty members.

More than ever, says Dr. Azar, “this year’s ICL program has a range of courses and opportunities for sharing information that reflect the needs and interests of AAOS members. It draws on the best of the past and offers new resources for the future.”

What a fitting way to celebrate the spirit of the AAOS 75th anniversary!