American Academy Of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)

Orthopedic surgeons generally consider robotic surgery for total joints unnecessary and a marketing gimmick, but spine surgeons believe there could be real value for robotic navigation. n Orthopedic surgeons have been big prescribers of opioids, and AAOS has a big push to change that. One partial solution is intra-operative anesthesia, but doctors, if they use anything, generally prefer their own cocktail of drugs to Pacira Pharmaceuticals’ Exparel. n For the first time in decades, total joint replacement volume may decrease somewhat over the next 1-2 years despite the aging population, and there are a number of reasons for this. n CMS’s bundling project in orthopedics is raising interest in ways to lower cost – and that may increase interest in less expensive device options, including rep-less implants like those from Smith & Nephew/Syncera or lower-cost offerings from companies like United Orthopedics Corporation (UOC).

American Society Of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)

Until recently, the only real options for people with opioid use disorder (OUD) were either methadone or, more commonly, abstinence (behavioral therapy) – perhaps with 12- step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. In the last few years, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been gaining in popularity, and MAT was a huge focus at the ASAM meeting.

Society Of American Gastrointestinal And Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES)

Robotics was a hot topic at SAGES this year. One in four U.S. hospitals is reported to have at least one (and often several) of Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robots. The major impediments to clinical use of robots by general surgeons have been (1) cost, (2) lack of standardization in training, and (3) lack of outcomes data.

Healthcare Information And Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

More than 42,000 people attended this annual meeting. Chief information officers (CIOs) said their budgets are up, but the money generally isn’t going for new electronic health record (EHR) systems. In fact, perhaps for the first time, most of the CIOs questioned at the meeting didn’t have any specific items on their shopping list. In other years, that list has included population health, computerized physician order entry, e-prescribing, etc. This year, while there is significant interest in cybersecurity and population health, CIOs just didn’t have a buy list or a short list of companies to check out.

American Academy Of Dermatology (AAD)

More than 18,000 people attended the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) annual meeting, and more than 9,800 of these were medical professionals. This included a large number of non-U.S. doctors, particularly from South America. The exhibit hall was busier than at many other medical conferences, but that was likely due to the generous product give-aways. This report is split into two parts: medical dermatology and cosmetic dermatology.

ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium

There were no data or major announcements at this meeting. It was more of an Immunology 101 course, with most of the focus on the basics of immunotherapy for cancer. There was a lot of attention to CAR T therapies and biomarkers, though none of the many biomarkers being investigated has been able to show clear utility in predicting which patients will respond to immunotherapy drugs or even for monitoring patients on those agents. The role of the microbiome also came up frequently.

Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Some years, the focus at this meeting – which is jointly sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and the Society of Urologic Oncology (SUO) and attended by >3,000 cancer specialists – is on prostate cancer, but this year renal cell carcinoma (RCC) got more attention than prostate cancer.

Angiogenesis, Exudation, And Degeneration

The Angiogenesis, Exudation, and Degeneration meeting, sponsored by Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, always offers a great overview of the status of research in retinal diseases. And there is a long list of drugs/therapies in development to treat retinal diseases, but there isn’t anything on the near horizon that experts believe will be a game changer.

International Symposium On Endovascular Therapy (ISET)

This meeting, attended mostly by interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons, provided a good opportunity to review the therapies available and in development to treat peripheral artery disease, pulmonary embolisms (PEs), and aortic aneurysms -- atherectomy devices, drug-coated balloons, stents (bare, drug-eluting, and covered), aspiration devices, embolic protection, and more. There wasn’t much breaking news, but the meeting offered an overview of trends in device usage. There was even an update on new percutaneous cardiovascular devices.

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