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Imagine trying to show a bone fracture to someone using only words — no more than 250, with no X- rays, graphs, or other visual images. That’s what mem-


bers of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) struggled with when submitting abstracts for AAOS’s Annual Meeting—until the organization’s program committee rallied for change.  “[They] demanded it. They said they weren’t getting what they needed and couldn’t go further with education until we changed our system,” said Kathie Niesen, CMP, AAOS’s education manager. “With no visuals and being limited to 250 words, it was too hard to judge the abstracts and it limited our ability to judge what the final presentations were going to be like.”


A Measure of Acceptance Dramatic change came in the form of a partnership with Chicago- based Coe-TrumanTechnologies, which allowedAAOSto over- haul its submission process and begin accepting abstracts with “images, graphs, X-rays, pretty much anything,” Niesen said. “And we are no longer limited to 250 words. The limit we decided on is one page, which is more than 2,000 words.” The result?Arecord number of abstracts were submitted for


AAOS’s 2012 Annual Meeting in San Francisco next month— 5,369 in all, nearly 300 more than were submitted for the 2011 Annual Meeting in San Diego. The abstracts also were of “higher quality,” Niesen said, “which is what the program committee was going for, because the graders could see what they were only able to read before.” An added benefit of AAOS’s new submission process was


“squeaky-clean” financial disclosure—in terms of participants reporting their potential affiliation with any pharmaceutical, med- ical-device, or publishing company. AAOS requires all Annual Meeting participants submitting abstracts to disclose certain financial information “for the purpose of the graders,” Niesen


54 pcmaconvene January 2012


said. “The graders need to see each participant’s disclosure in order to grade the abstract correctly. The authors’ names don’t appear, but their disclosure does.” (See “TheAAOSOrthopaedic Disclosure Program,” p. 58.) For many years, AAOS sent financial-disclosure forms to


On_the_Web


For more information about AAOS’s 2012 Annual Meeting, visit http://bit.ly/AAOS.


authors and co-authors via snailmail. “The follow-up was oner- ous,” Niesen said, “and the storage requirements a nightmare, because we had to keep the forms for six years.” About four years ago, AAOS decided to get “ahead of the curve” and cre- ated its own financial-disclosure database. Members submitting


www.pcma.org


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