President's Update

November Report

Dear Members,

Welcome to my November update.
As we approach the holiday season, I want to start by wishing all ATA members and their immediate and extended families at home and work a very happy Thanksgiving. I do hope you all manage to re-unite with your families and friends and recharge your emotional and physical batteries at this splendid time of year when we can all count our blessings and remember how lucky we are as a group to have such fortunate lives and work environments.
I spend a lot of time with patients talking about the importance of having meaningful activities and experiences, and we who work in the healthcare industry, who are devoted to changing and improving the lives of people, are just so lucky that we have such meaningful work that is much more than just bringing home a salary. It is such an honor for me to work with all ATA members and to have developed such friendships and professional relationships with so many extraordinary people.
I have been privileged to meet many members as part of my role as your President this year, and am constantly impressed by your passion and your level of involvement in the ATA.  As an association, we are only as strong as our members and we are very fortunate in our collegiality and professionalism, as well as in the way that individuals from so many different areas of healthcare work together and help each other achieve the greater goals that are beyond us as individuals.
So at this time of year as you visit your friends and family, I wish to particularly send you a reminder that you are also a member of the ATA “family” and to thank you for all that you contribute to the ATA. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
The ATA staff, along with input from our many members, has been working on a number of continuing projects and seek your continued support and involvement.
After the very successful  EDGE 2017  meeting in Washington, DC attended by close to 300 people we are about to publish a conference monograph that will cover the major themes and discussions held at EDGE.  These include the importance of communicating the value of telemedicine to all involved, patients, providers, payers and institutions, as well as a number of key concepts relating to implementation, especially in large health systems; and to scaling projects to make them both permanent, larger and integrated into in-person health systems. I was impressed by how closely many of the EDGE discussions mirrored the general direction of the recently released ATA 5 year strategic plan (available for download on our website). I strongly recommend all members read this latter document to see how they can best contribute to our long-term efforts to improve patient care, nationally and internationally.
Thanks to all of you. As a reminder, I am already looking forward to EDGE 2018 which will be in Austin Sept 26th to 28th and will focus primarily on innovation and technology drivers in telemedicine.
We now look forward to ATA18 in Chicago, April 29th – May 1st. Don’t forget to put these dates in your schedule. There are already “save the date” flyers going out and a website up and available for you. The Education Committee, chaired by ATA Vice President Kristi Henderson,  alongside ATA staff, has reviewed the largest number of submissions of papers that we have ever received. This is a testament to the quality of our members and the excellent work you do.
The Chicago theme is “Designing the Future of Modern Healthcare” and we believe this will be our largest ever conference with capacity for over 6,000 attendees. We intend to have a specific focus on disaster recovery following the various recent hurricanes and fires in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California, and are developing additional sessions on precision medicine, consumerism, telemedicine research, the diversification of telemedicine into the corporate non-healthcare commercial world, as well as of course on the value proposition of telemedicine.  
We are still seeking your ideas on people that you would be interested to hear from at the conference, so please send such ideas or suggestions to either Kristi Henderson, Sabrina Smith, Courtney Mesmer or myself.
As I noted in my October update, next year is the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the ATA, so I wish to remind you of the major celebrations planned for this important milestone, particularly at the Chicago Conference. Among other activities, the Board has agreed to making substantial changes to the various ATA honors and awards that have traditionally been given to members and member groups at the annual conference. A call for nominations for these awards went out recently and closes December 8th.  We are also planning a major “Honors and Awards Dinner” which will be open to all conference attendees and which will replace the traditional “Leadership Dinner” as a larger, more inclusive social event where we will be able to honor ATA members in more style than has traditionally been possible.
Finally, as mentioned in my last monthly update, the ATA Board has set up a search committee, chaired by Vice President Kristi Henderson, to seek out a new CEO. There is a lot of interest in the position and the search team is currently drawing up a shortlist of potential applicants, so do please nominate anyone you feel is a good candidate, sending such information to either Kristi or myself. In the meantime, Sabrina Smith continues her outstanding job as Interim CEO and is about to launch a member survey to enable us to better understand your needs, and how ATA can fulfil these. Finally, for those of you being on our very active Board, nominations for next year’s vacant positions will open on December 15th and should be sent either to Dr John Glaser, who chairs the Board nominating committee, or to myself.
Do please continue to contact me, Sabrina Smith, any ATA staff, and any Board members or other ATA leaders with any questions or concerns. It is always good to hear from you. And a very happy thanksgiving to you all from the ATA.
My best wishes to all.


Dr. Peter Yellowlees, MBBS
American Telemedicine Association