In a triumphant return to in-person events, CPMA recently held our 2021 Symposium on October 8-9 at Foxwoods Resort Casino. There, podiatrists, their staff, other medical professionals, and over 50 exhibitors came together to network, learn, and grow. Attendees heard engaging speakers from across the globe who offered many insights into the future of our field. To keep you ahead of the curve, here are six trends we covered:
1. The Hybridization of Education
The difficulties we faced in 2020 showed us the importance of practicing podiatric medicine in person; although telemedicine is a helpful tool, there’s no replacement for hands-on diagnoses. However, we all learned how to Zoom, giving us opportunities to learn from our own desks. We can study and learn from experts across the globe and get the same benefits as if they were in the same room as us.
For example, during the Symposium, Karsten Knobloch, MD, FACS, of the International Society for Musculoskeletal Shockwave Therapy, joined us all the way from Chile to give a fantastic overview of radial pressure and shockwaves for treating chronic pain. Perry Lin, MD, FACP, from Mount Carmel Health System, joined through Zoom, teaming up with in-person speaker Loice Swisher, MD, FAACM, MAAEM, of Drexel University College of Medicine, for a compelling presentation on the reality behind physician suicide numbers. These hybrid events captivated the audience, showing that powerful ideas can overcome distance.
2. Treating Chronic Pain without Opioids
We know that finding alternatives to opioids is more important than ever for all fields of medicine. With nearly 50,000 opioid-related deaths in 2019 alone, identifying new ways to relieve chronic pain is a must.
We welcomed an ENT specialist, Dr. David Boissoneau, to address trends and strategies for postoperative pain control. Although it may seem strange for podiatrists to learn from a specialist at the complete opposite end of the human body, Dr. Boissoneau shared information that crossed specialty lines. He presented research that showed that patients, on average, only use less than half the number of opioids prescribed for them, leaving leftover pills.
During the Symposium, it was an exciting moment to see demonstrations of a viable alternative: localized shockwave therapy that can relieve acute pain and accelerate healing in patients. We expect future endeavors to include a full-team approach to post-operative care. By paying special attention to the status of your patient, you can prevent infections and other painful experiences that would previously require administration of opioids.
3. Partnering with External Agencies to Avoid Tragedy
Two presentations featured insight from law enforcement officers on unfortunately common experiences that aren’t covered in our medical training: difficult patients and active shooter situations. By working with organizations that face these challenges more regularly, podiatrists can learn how to protect themselves, their patients, and their practices.
4. More Human Doctors
The historic focus of medicine has always been on the patient, their health, their humanity, and their safety. Medical professionals were seen as separate from those they treat, like infallible forces of healing.
Yet medical professionals are men and women who face more challenges and stress than ever before. Burnout is an epidemic in our field, leading to the highest rates of physician suicide thus far. With this reality coming to light, we expect peers and patients to begin recognizing doctors’ humanity.
This starts with, as Peter B. Smulowitz, MD, MPH, FACEP, noted in his presentation, recognizing the illusion of perfection. It is an unattainable pursuit that puts additional stress on an already taxing situation. He shared how CARe (Communication, Apology, and Resolution in a timely and just fashion) can improve situations with patients. We also expect medical professionals to find time and opportunities to support one another mentally and emotionally to help curb burnout and prevent future suicides.
5. Increased Emphasis on Coding
For new and veteran podiatrists alike, proper knowledge of Medicare coding is invaluable. As codes and requirements change, professionals can find it difficult to collect the compensation they deserve. While some doctors may think they can navigate this alone, Google and other common resources provide misleading and inaccurate information.
Thankfully, we have resources to overcome the challenges that future updates may pose. CPMA members gain free access to APMA’s Coding Resource Center (CRC). This tool has the most up-to-date information regarding Medicare codes, updates, and more. If you are still struggling, the CRC can connect you to professionals who will answer your direct questions and ensure you and your team get paid.
6. Research and Proof: The Power of Podiatry
As we know, podiatry provides a variety of benefits for all patients. From keeping athletes healthy and active to performing critical surgeries on damaged ankles, we help people stay mobile. While this may be common knowledge in our field, other professionals and patients are unaware of the breadth of our services.
Thankfully, we have professionals like CPMA Board Member, Rachel Albright, DPM. She is currently working on groundbreaking research that proves the healing and preventative benefits of regular visits to a podiatrist. Her studies prove that foot exams can help patients with diabetes prevent hospitalizations as well as limb loss. Read about and contribute to her research here.
Current members and Symposium attendees can continue their education at any time with resources and recordings from the event. Not a member? Stay on top of these changes and whatever else the future has in store for podiatry by joining CPMA! We keep our community informed and ready to take advantage of new developments and overcome challenges that befall us. Stay tuned for more news!