Karen Woods

Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE

Outgoing ASGE President Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE, has led the society in new directions. Not only was 2017-2018 the first year in history that all four GI societies (AASLD, ACG, AGA and ASGE) were led by women, it also was the year the four societies developed their first common email platform.

“Having four women as presidents was not the result of careful coordination, but of coincidences and a significant signal that GI societies recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion for all of our members,” Dr. Woods said during Saturday’s ASGE Presidential Plenary. “A common email platform allows us to communicate about collaborative work on important issues and reduce the number of duplicative emails you receive if you belong to more than one society.”

ASGE also has taken the lead in protecting endoscopy in the face of adverse publicity.

When Kaiser Health News and theLA Times headlined a study in April 2018 noting the detection of microbial contamination on 75 percent of medical scopes after reprocessing, ASGE leapt into action.

“This was a small study of only three facilities and not an indication of the effectiveness of scope reprocessing in other health care facilities,” Dr. Woods said. “This story should serve as a reminder that patient safety is paramount, and we can never let down our guard on infection control,” she added.

The society also has responded to the aggressive consumer advertising campaign promoting the Cologuard home screening test for colorectal cancer (CRC). Look for new screening recommendations and the ranking of different tests being released at the ASGE Learning Center and on the society website.

New recommendations from the American Cancer Society that suggest average risk individuals begin CRC screening at age 45 will likely focus attention on the risks and benefits of different screening modalities. The qualified recommendation is based largely on modeling studies, Dr. Woods noted. She predicted the new guideline will spur additional studies that will clarify the benefits and risks of earlier screening.

ASGE also has increased its use of social media to communicate with members and with the public.

“As I figured out hashtags and Twitter, I found myself resisting the urge to follow President Trump’s lead and post unfiltered opinions freely,” Dr. Woods said. “I must thank ASGE staff for keeping my comments about CMS, reimbursement and all things negatively impacting gastroenterology mature and free of four letter words.”

The Beyond Our Walls capital campaign that concluded last summer raised more than $3 million to promote the ASGE mission of education and practice support. New products have already been released and more are in preparation.

ASGE’s first GI Operations Benchmarking Survey results were released in 2017. The society is now collecting data through the end of 2017 for the next version.

Steven A. Edmundowicz, MD, FASGE, and Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE

Steven A. Edmundowicz, MD, FASGE, and Karen L. Woods, MD, FASGE

Beyond Our Walls also supported a variety of new practice improvement resources. Members now have a new monthly e-newsletter, the new 2018 coding primer and the 2018 AEC primer.

The society is releasing a new learning management system at DDW® called GILEAP — GI Learn, Explore, Advance Practice. The new GESAP IX is already available as well as a number of on-demand digital videos, recorded webinars and courses, all course material for live events and live courses members can watch from home or office. All can be accessed on tablet, phone or laptop.

New this year is the GOLD program, which stands for GI Organization Leadership and Development. The course is open to members with five to 10 years of practice. A few spots remain, Dr. Woods said, and members who are interested should contact incoming president Steven A. Edmundowicz, MD, FASGE. Dr. Edmundowicz was inaugurated as ASGE’s next president during the session.