October 28, 2005
AAOM RE-Cap: New age voting and the future of Acupuncture
Thanks to consultants brought on by the AAOM, we were able to experience real-time polling results of an opinion survey conducted at the conference (about 90 of us). Dr. William Prensky, formerly director of Mercy College, helped lay out some questions for how we wanted the AAOM to go forward, and what we all thought should really happen with the new Doctorate...
What surprised me the most about the voting, was not the sweet thrill of technology, but actually how people voted. Sure, it was awesome to press a 1 or a 2, to say I think it's more important that we focus on getting Medicare coverage for Acupuncture than say planning more social events (and luckily everyone agreed with me). Yet, for example, many thought that learning how to integrate into western medical settings was more important than getting Medicare coverage. Many thought that standardizing herbs as a mandatory part of school training was more imporant than getting third-party insurers to cover our services.
Maybe this is just semantics, but it seems imperative for us to secure Medicare and 3rd party coverage for us to even be able to integrate into a western medical setting. Most hospitals don't want us because they don't know how to bill for us. If they can't figure out how to charge for us being there, then how can they afford to pay us to be there. From a strengthening of our profession standpoint, how does standardizing herbs into our schools help really anyone? I'm not sure that's where the AAOM should be focusing it's energy.
Schooling was part b of our survey. Dr. Prensky reminded us to forget whether or not we should, but that ACAOM was already drawing up plans for a first-degree Doctoral, and they wanted to know what it is that should be added to the current Masters-level curriculum. Should they teach us how to read research, how to write a medical chart, better knowledge of the classics, or better knowledge of western science? The two most popular were providing a greater foundation in the classics, and teaching us how to understand the new research coming out.
I agree with the research bit, but I have to say I don't really think we need more knowledge of the classics. After being in practice for 4+ years, the things I wish I learned were how to start a business, how to integrate modern research into my point prescriptions, or how to talk to a Gynecologist about someone's fertility without using the word Jing. I knew the classics relatively well. I knew Acupuncture relatively well. I sure as hell didn't know enough of western medicine to truly become part of an Integrative Medicine approach to a person's health care.
Results aside, the voting scheme was extremely informative, and the results will hopefully be made available on the AAOM website soon.
October 27, 2005
AAOM Re-cap: The formation of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine
Although ABORM had pretty much already been formed, spear headed by Ray Rubio, L.Ac., DAOM and Martin_Herbkersman, L.Ac., O.M., this gave all us fertility followers to speak about what we'd like to see from a fertility board, and what it would take to achieve certification ...
Though I sat in my chair extremely excited about the new fertility board (mostly to show the founders my website ideas), I was somewhat concerned as to whether or not I was 'smart enough' to be either on the board itself, or simply be part of it's formation. Even after dealing with a greater than 50% patient load of just fertility work, traveling to fertility clinics and talking to Reproductive Endocrinologists, I didn't even know if I could pass a certification exam. Apparently everyone else felt the same way.
All anyone could talk about was "I don't know all this stuff, don't take away my business by saying I'm not as cool as you." The other big thing was "I'll help if you grandfather me in." Everyone was afraid that their former niche practices would no longer be in their own control.
In the end, good sense did prevail. The creation of this board will most certainly raise the bar of our knowledge, and from our own volition, not the will of an outside source. This will be inclusive, educating as well as certifying. After the proposed 2 year probable time period for all this to get started, the board founders and first inductees will all gain a great amount of knowledge into the western science of fertility, as well as the appropriate herbal and Acupuncture treatments to go with it. Then, both RE's and us Fertility wonks, will know who they can safely turn to when their patients ask for referrals. Additionally, we can hopefully spawn more research into an exciting field.
October 24, 2005
AAOM Conference: Innovation and Tradition
Innovation and Tradition indeed. The 2005 AAOM conference in Chicago was a definite success in many ways. Acupuncturist's came together and through both traditional methods of open discussion, and innovative methods like touchpad real-time opinion voting attempted to forecast the future of our medicine, our practice, and our profession.
Much on the round table revolved around both the future goals of the AAOM and even more so the upcoming Doctorate. Should there be one doctorate nationally recognized as a first-degree, or should their be a separate doctorate on top of the masters? Should their be a goal of national reciprocity with the degree or should CA maintain it's own standard as usual?
There is a lot to be reported on including the formation of a national fertility board (ABORM), a final formation of a Student chapter of the AAOM, and a call to the profession to figure out the next 5 years.
Give me a day or two to put it all down in legible type (aside from building the ABORM website and putting together a national student caucus list).
October 18, 2005
3 Days and Counting to AAOM conference in Chicago, IL
This Friday begins the AAOM annual conference for Acupuncturists and Oriental Med practitioners. This year is focused on Tradition and Innovation...whatever that means. I always love the names cause they usually tell you absolutely nothing to what the speakers are talking about. You can download a brochure at the AAOM website.
One of the cool things I'll be doing is meeting with the newly formed North American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. With any luck, and some of my coding wizardry, that website will look a hell of a lot better in the next few weeks. The board's goal is to set a standard for fertility care in the AOM community.
October 11, 2005
In doing my daily scouring of the web, news wires, and medical lit for things of relevance to the Acupuncture community I surprisingly often come up with news stories that hit me with a deja-vu feeling. For example, I was looking through a news source reporting on this story about a Duke research study on Acupuncture being effective at reducing post-operative nausea and shortening recovery time for major breast surgeries.
I think, great, maybe I can find the actual report at the Duke website (being someone who likes the facts, not regurgitating the news from the wires). Lo and behold I come upon the actual press release and study done by the Duke research team here. As I'm reading through, something finally gets me to look up and the flash bang goes off when I see the date: 2001.
You gotta be kidding me. How could any reputable news source be regurgitating a story from 4 years ago. A medical story no less. Who knows how old the information is? Sometimes it takes years for a study to get published. Moreover, who does the research to find out whether or not new evidence has shown the previous study to be faulty, or misleading, or even flat out wrong.
The answer is hardly anyone does and it scares the crap out of me. It sounds to me like we need to have a rash of fact checking and even date checking on news stories.
October 03, 2005
AOM Day is October 24th, 2005
AOM Day. Who'd a thunk it. I'd never heard of national chiropractic day, or national massage day, but apparently Acupuncture is cooler than these things. I've tried for the past 2 years to come up with ways to celebrate/use AOM Day for my practice in some way and I always fell short.
Then I found the AOM Day website that had a fun listing of what everyone else was doing in your state. Granted, I still haven't come up with anything. I can't offer free Acupuncture cause you need a referral in PA (hopefully not for long), and I have no space in my office to run a lecture. Maybe next year.
Update: I couldn't figure out why the pic I had here wasn't loading until I realized that within the last week the AOM day org re-did their website (to look mighty spiffy I might add). Unfortunately, they took away all the cool info on what everyone is doing...lame.