Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Changes in Health Care and Neurodiagnostics

I am heading to the 2013 ASET Annual Conference in Reno this weekend!  It is time to put a new blog post up prior to heading to traveling.  I can’t let my readers get bored while they wait for something new to appear!  I have been thrilled with the increase in my blog readership since I started doing this a couple of years ago.  I now have over 500 readers per month, when I used to have less than 200!  The demographic statistics on my blog dashboard show that I have readers in Europe and Africa as well as in the USA.  We truly have become a global society, and hopefully a global neurodiagnostic society!
I would guess that most of my readers are not coming to Reno, so I thought I would write up an overview of a theme that has emerged in the conference program,  which may be on the minds of a lot of neurodiagnostic technologists and other allied health workers as well.
For this year’s ASET Annual Conference, our daily plenary sessions each address an aspect of health care reform and the far-reaching implications for those of us who work in the medical field.  There is always the fear of change and the unknown, fueling a sense of apprehension.  But in one form or another, we will survive as a profession.  With baby-boomers (like myself) aging, there will be more patients with neurological complications in the future.  Plus, we boomers will eventually retire from the work force, creating a shortage of skilled technologists.  So, we have to “grow” a lot of young, vital techs to take over where we leave off.  We also expect to see a trend toward more continuous monitoring of EEG in the critically ill patient population, so we will be required to cover more neuro-intensive care cases.
We have four different sessions at the conference that will help us get a handle on the future workplace for us.  The Keynote Speaker is Fred Lenhoff, who is on staff for the AMA, and is on the Board of Directors for the Health Professions Network.  He is an expert on allied health professions and trends in health care.  He will help us understand the “big picture”of health care reform.  He  will provide a comparison with our profession and other allied health specialties and how we will all fare in the future.
Our Ellen Grass Lecturer is Dr. Marc Nuwer, who has been involved on a government level as an advisor, serving on committees that set the rules for reimbursement.  He is a great advocate to have in our corner, as his specialty is IONM and ICU monitoring.  He will discuss how new legislation will affect our profession.
Our Kathleen Mears Lecturer is Sabrina Galloway, a technologist who has always had a keen interest in continuous EEG in the ICU, way before it became a recognized trend.  She also has managed services for a busy IONM company.  She will speak about how to position yourself, with credentials and education, to be a valuable member of the workforce.
And lastly:  Our Symposium:  “Doing More with Less and Reducing the Stress: Preventing Job Burn-Out” will include three panelists: a lab manager and a staff technologist will each explain their perspective and daily experience in this time of change.  The third panelist is a professional life coach, Beverly Marshall, will give us some tips on how to survive stress in the work place. 
I hope that this year’s conference program helps us develop strength in our profession as we position ourselves for the future.
See you on the other side of Reno!