More than 150 health care providers traveled to the University of Kansas Medical Center in November to participate in the "Emerging Techniques in Otolaryngology: Application to Reimbursement" symposium and course, hosted by the KU Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
"This is an exciting time in the field of otolaryngology because we are able to treat patients in ways that are much less invasive than in the old days, as well as much more cost-effective," said Alexander Chiu, M.D., the Russell E. Bridwell M.D., Chairman and Professor in the KU School of Medicine's otolaryngology department. "We had physicians from 21 states comes to KU to hear and discuss these technologies and their implications on patient care with both our faculty as well as with thought leaders from across the country."
The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in new technologies, many of which can be used in doctors' offices, replacing more invasive surgeries. For example, rather than surgically inserting tubes in the eardrum to relieve the pressure caused by a blocked Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear with the back of the throat, doctors now can insert a tiny balloon-like device into a blocked Eustachian tube, open it up, and bring the patient relief in about 10 minutes. The symposium also featured sessions about novel techniques to treat head and neck cancer, chronic sleep apnea and snoring, thyroid disease, rhinitis, chronic ear disease, and disorders of the salivary gland.
The symposium also addressed the administrative and reimbursement issues related to these procedures, as well as ethical decision-making. In the first session of the symposium, "Ethics of Surgical Innovation," Ronald Kuppersmith, M.D., M.B.A., a professor of surgery at the Texas A&M Health Sciences Center College of Medicine who is also a director on the American Board of Otolaryngology, asked participants to question, with any new technique, Is new better? Does it truly benefit patients or is the new technology industry-driven?
Kuppersmith was one of seven invited lecturers to the symposium, all of whom are national leaders in ENT. The others were Seilesh Babu, M.D., board-certified neurotologist, partner, and CFO at the Michigan Eye Institute; James C. Denneny III, M.D., executive vice president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; M. Boyd Gillespie, M.D., M.Sc., professor and chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Peter Hwang, M.D., vice chair for clinical affairs, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center; Richard Waguespack, M.D., clinical professor of Otolaryngology, University of Alabama School of Medicine; and Rohan Walvekar, M.D., associate professor of Head and Neck Surgery and director of clinical research, Department of Otolaryngology, Louisiana State University School of Medicine.
As Robert D. Simari, M.D., interim vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center, noted in his opening remarks, the symposium was the first educational activity of this kind held in the new Health Education Building. The building opened in July and serves as the primary teaching facility for the KU schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions.