March 27, 2019

Letter from the Chair

What a great time to be alive!  We live in a great country and during a period where just about anyone who is willing and committed is able to better themselves and contribute to advancements in technologies and society.  While advancement or efforts to influence or implement change can often be challenging, it is often worth the effort in the end. 

I am privileged to be the chair of the Telehealth Section and to be able to work with some very smart, knowledgeable, resourceful, talented, committed and generous people.  Yes, we are now officially the Telehealth Section.  The name change that our section voted on at our annual meeting in San Diego was officially approved by the ACEP Board of Directors in January 2019.

Since October, I have been busy working to deliver value to our members and provide opportunities for our members to be engaged and contribute to improving and the advancement of emergency medicine that will benefit our members, our College and most importantly, patients and society.  In an effort to provide such opportunities, four task forces were created: Operational Guidelines Task Force; Research & Resolution Task Force; Practice Guidelines Task Force; and Disaster Task Force.  These specific task forces were chosen to lay the groundwork and develop the infrastructure and a process for our section to be as efficient and productive as possible for all future efforts coming from our section. 

Each task force has a purpose to address specific needs of the section and serve as a means for members to be engaged and participate in various areas of Telehealth: whether to establish standard practice guidelines for any/all Telehealth encounters; develop a data base for research and create a research network, create a process for resolutions to be encouraged, vetted and advanced; to update the governing operational guidelines as necessary; or create a disaster response for relief efforts for disaster victims, these task forces will serve as the vehicles to accomplish much of what our members may want to accomplish. 

Our incredible section members have continued to contribute their precious time, energy and efforts to section efforts and now to the various task forces and are making a big impact.  In just four months since our annual meeting and the commission of the task forces, our section members’ efforts have already made an impact.  Our practice guidelines task force members’ efforts and contributions were instrumental in reshaping ACEP’s Policy Statement on Telehealth and may soon be influencing governmental practice guidelines.

This is just a sample of what one of the task forces is doing and working on, there is plenty more going on.  I will allow each task force leader to tell you more about their task force but did want you to know that the task forces are quite active and already making an impact on our specialty and the Telehealth deliver mechanism.   Another idea under consideration is developing an ACEP Telehealth Conference.

This is a great time to be involved.  There are so many opportunities for us and our section.  Once again, thank you for your support and for all of your hard work.  Please reach out to me with your thoughts, ideas and comments; I welcome your engagement and input.  The future, our future, is bright and I look forward to continuing to work with the many dedicated and hard-working section members in the hopes of improve things for our section members, our College, our patients and people everywhere.

Edward “Etch” Shaheen, MD, FACEP