Physicians committed to patient safety and comfort.

Letter From The President - October 2016

Posted: Wednesday, October 05, 2016 11:10am

Dear colleagues,

First of all, I am deeply honored and humbled to serve as the President of MSA. Despite my term starting prematurely, I will do my best to live up to the society’s expectations. I would like to thank the nomination committee and board of directors for electing me. I also would like to thank the committees’ chairs and their members for their efforts to furthering the mission of MSA.

Autumn is here and living in Minnesota, we couldn't be more excited as we are making our way to winter! The English poet John Keats called autumn the 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'. Thinking of autumn and the changing colors, I am reminded that this is the time to reflect on the past year and to gather and share our experiences. Every year, autumn provides many outstanding educational activities for all of us, including the annual ASA meeting and our regional Fall MSA meeting. This year the focus of the ASA meeting, which is held in Chicago from October 22-26, is on the dynamic and changing future of health care and the concept of volume to value-based competition. For those attending the meeting, I encourage you to attend the keynote speaker lecture, delivered by Professor Michael Porter. Michael Porter is an eminent economist, professor, advisor and teacher at the Harvard Business School and the author of 18 books and numerous articles. He is well-known for his research work on developing a framework on restructuring healthcare systems on Value-Based Health Care Delivery and not driven by cost reduction, convenience and customer service. For further insight into these concepts, I highly recommend the book he co-authored, “Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results.” I am fascinated by Prof. Porter’s theories on how to get to value based health delivery. Our current health care delivery is focused far too much on cost-reduction, increasing negotiating power, providing broad-lines of service, and cost-shifting. Instead, it should focus on long-term value (results vs. costs) for patients. Keys to accomplishing this are a collection of standardized patient outcomes data that are used to identify providers needing improvement and sources from which that improvement can be gleaned, as well as in guiding patient decision-making. How does this apply to anesthesia services? What are the crucial steps? New ideas are on increased provider collaboration among departments focusing on patient outcomes, enhanced consumer engagement, patient taking more responsibility for their health choices, developing new approaches to care management, and investments in infrastructure. I hope we can return from the meeting with better insight and appreciation on how a value-based system works and take action to drive better patient outcomes in anesthesia in our state.

If you cannot make it to the ASA meeting, I look forward to seeing you at our regional MSA meeting, which is held at the Intercontinental St. Paul Riverfront on November 12. The focus of the meeting is on anesthesia managing techniques for the dynamic and fast changing field of interventional cardiology/cardiopulmonary arena. New minimally accessed but highly invasive procedures on critically ill patients are calling for anesthesia expertise and special skills. In addition, our workshop session is on ultrasound for truncal anesthesia. As the American healthcare system continues to evolve and reimbursement becomes tied to value-based incentive programs, perioperative pain management is becoming increasingly important. Regional anesthetic techniques are only one component of a successful multimodal pain regimen. When used within a multimodal regimen, truncal blocks may provide similar analgesia when compared with other regional anesthetic techniques.

During my term as president, I aim to keep you informed on current trends in our field, increase member engagement into our society through improvements in our website, strengthen our organization internally and its influence at the state level, and as always, promote patient safety across the state of Minnesota.

Thank you all for what you do to provide safe care to our patients in Minnesota. I look forward to seeing you all at the ASA or MSA conferences.


Ioanna Apostolidou, M.D.
President, MSA