Following is an excerpt from AASM President Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler’s address to the membership at the AASM General Membership Meeting on Monday, June 2, at SLEEP 2014 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Abraham Lincoln once said: “Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.” Today, we are here to talk about what I think can and should be done together. As I think about the long list of distinguished leaders who have held this position and who served our membership well, I am humbled by the remarkable opportunity to serve as the 29th president of the Academy. I’m certain that each Academy president has faced unique and daunting challenges during his or her term. But always our organization’s leaders and members have banded together and developed constructive and strategic solutions that have advanced the field of sleep medicine, just as we’ve done in the past year under Safwan’s leadership.
We have an exciting history. But, change is happening all around us at an astounding rate. Business is not as usual for anyone. Of companies operating during the economic recessions of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and the last decade, on average 30% are gone. The world’s stock of data is doubling every 20 months; the number of internet-connected devices has reached 12 billion. Payments by mobile phone are hurtling beyond the $1 trillion dollar mark.
Big data and advanced analytics have moved from the edges of consciousness to become deeply embedded across industry, government, and now health care. Social technologies are becoming a powerful social matrix – key pieces of organizational infrastructure that links and engages businesses and those they serve like never before. It took commercial television 13 years to reach 50 million households and Internet service providers three years to sign their 50 millionth subscriber. But it took Facebook just a year and Twitter even less time to reach the same milestone.
Whose head isn’t dizzy? Like in the case of technology and business, all of you are well aware that the model of care in sleep medicine is changing rapidly, too. Attempts at cost containment have at times left patients with suboptimal outcomes and separated from sleep specialty care, and many existing sleep centers have struggled to adapt to new economic realities.
You also are well aware that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called just the ACA, is gradually transforming the practice of medicine in America. The ACA is ushering in a new era of health care that is established on the foundational concept of the patient centered medical home, supported by the development of accountable care organizations, and reliant on new physician payment models. Among many changes, three are huge for sleep medicine.
First, to meet the mandate to improve the health of our citizens, we must form new kinds of relationships with patients, primary care providers, and payors. The nature of the practice of population health centered on accountable care organizations requires that we find new ways to relate and serve our patients and colleagues who help care for them.
Second, our payment structure is changing from a pay for service to a pay for value structure. Probably most of us agree this is a proper arrangement, but getting from here to there is almost certainly going to involve turbulent changes.
Thirdly, between increasing awareness of the importance of sleep health, demographic changes that tend to increase the prevalence of sleep diseases, counterproductive societal pressures, and the increased access to health care inherent in the ACA, more people than ever will require sleep medicine expertise.
Will sleep medicine be able to adapt to these changes and thrive in the new medical world? Your Board of Directors has taken bold steps to address these challenges in the past year. Looking forward, it is time to talk about three key organizational priorities: quality, vitality, and longevity, and how they directly tie in to the mission of the AASM – “to improve sleep health and promote high quality patient centered care.”
Read the complete report of the president from Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler presented during SLEEP 2014.