Vision 2020: What is it? Is it working?

February 7, 2017

Vision 2020 is the College’s six-year strategic plan, launched in mid-2014, to solidify and elevate our position as the premier organization for practicing allergists. It offers a clear-eyed view of where we — and the specialty — want to be by the year 2020 and beyond.

Vision 2020 aims to provide our members with the resources they need to help patients and build their practices, including:

  • Enhanced online education and practice management offerings.
  • Expanded efforts to help practicing allergists navigate changes in our health care system.
  • New ways for members to become involved and influence the future of the College.
  • Cutting-edge publications and website with top-notch tools, resources and the latest information.
  • Authoritative consumer website to raise greater awareness of the specialty and allergist expertise.

The Vision Advisory Group, consisting of the Executive Committee and Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI, Advocacy Council chair, and Bob Lanier, MD, FACAAI, past executive medical director, is beginning the process of strategic planning for 2018-2020. The first step is to conduct outreach with various stakeholders via pulse surveys to identify the challenges and opportunities that will inform us of our strategic priorities. Our key stakeholders include the Vision Advisory Group, members at-large, council members and College staff. We will work closely with our strategic partner, Reingold, Inc., who will assist the Vision Advisory Group in developing a high-level strategy for the next three years.  In mid-May the group will gather in Chicago for a full-day strategic planning session. Following that meeting, the plan will be fine-tuned and prepared for presentation to the Budget Committee in late summer and to the Board of Regents at its meeting in Boston during the Annual Scientific Meeting.

Following is a summary of the changes made, and the ideas behind those changes, in these key areas: organizational reform; education; practice management; member communications; public awareness and marketing; advocacy and government relations; and the Annual Scientific Meeting

Organizational Reform

We have transformed our governance structure to optimize the College’s operations, tap into the vast expertise of our members and establish pathways for leadership. We have consolidated committees that were not particularly active, added new committees to expand our expertise and established better communication channels between the many levels of our organization.

Currently, the College has eight councils, 44 reporting committees and more than 300 member volunteers working together to advance the work of the College. Our inclusive appointments process, implemented in the spring of 2015, has helped us broaden the diversity of our committees and opened doors for younger members to get involved. We now receive more than 100 applications per year from members interested in serving on committees. In 2016, nearly a quarter of the applicants had not previously served on a College committee. This group was highly representative of women (48%) and members under the age of 45 (81%). The Appointments Committee, led by Kathleen May, MD, FACAAI, has worked diligently to place nearly every applicant on a committee of their choice.

In an effort to support our emerging leaders, we have organized the College Leadership Summit. 22 members, 40 years or younger or in practice eight years or less, will attend the one-and-a-half-day program in Chicago this March. A broad range of topics, including effective communication, team building, change management and advocacy will be covered. The Member Relations Committee, led by Curtis Hedberg, MD, FACAAI, has played an important role in shaping the program.  

Education

In the first year of Vision 2020, the College conducted a member survey to gauge perceptions of the value and quality, interests, preferences and frequency of educational offerings. The Education Council, led by Dana Wallace, MD, FACAAI, then held an education summit to discuss member educational needs and to create a roadmap for the development of educational programs and resources. The College has since made big strides to upgrade its education infrastructure and enhance its offerings to members.

The College understands our members are busy seeing patients, so we created an online tool, the College Learning Connection (CLC), to serve as a one-stop shop for practicing allergists’ education. This learning management system gives users access to a wide range of online courses, a personalized learner profile with transcript history and the ability to report credits to ABAI. The CLC enables members to access online CME, MOC and other education from anywhere in the world. It also includes webinars and other College-developed content to benefit members.

Practice Management

The Practice Management Committee, led by Stanley Fineman, MD, MBA, FACAAI, Kevin McGrath, MD, FACAAI, and Kay Tyler, MBA, has worked to expand the College’s practice management resources for practicing allergists and their staff. We currently have toolkits for PQRS, Meaningful Use and ICD-10, and three more are planned for 2017. We held Perfecting Practice webinars on topics ranging from Best Practices in Office Collections to Social Media Strategies for Allergists. We plan to hold six additional webinars in 2017; all archived webinars are available for on demand viewing. The Practice Resources section of the College website has a wealth of information on financial management, human resources, MACRA, marketing, patient education and more.

Member Communications

One of the most visible aspects of the College’s transformation under Vision 2020 is our new logo and refreshed brand identity. We felt it was important for the College’s brand to speak to the vibrancy of our organization and better communicate our value.

The College’s redesigned members-only website is consistent with our brand identity. The site features a streamlined information architecture to allow for more intuitive navigation, a mobile- and tablet-responsive design, and has been integrated with the College’s technologies to create a seamless platform. Enhancements are in the works for the Practice Management and Advocacy sections of the site as well as improved navigation between sections. The Member Website Committee, led by Karla Davis, MD, FACAAI, is working on these enhancements along with members of the Practice Management Committee and the Advocacy Council.

Your first source for the news that matters to you comes in our Monday morning email, College Insider. It contains timely information affecting both the College and the specialty. In February 2017, we debuted a new quarterly email, Volunteer Insider, that is specifically tailored to members who serve on the College’s councils and committees. The quarterly print newsletter, College Advantage, includes feature articles with tips you can immediately put to use in your practice and highlights College offerings and related trends in the field. Your monthly Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and bimonthly AllergyWatch issues bring you the latest research in the field.

Public Awareness and Marketing

The College’s consumer-facing website continues to be one of our highest priorities under Vision 2020. The site is a prominent and trusted source for information related to allergy with an average of over 750,000 unique visitors a month. With the help of the Public Relations Committee, led by Janna Tuck, MD, FACAAI, we continue to further enhance the content and elevate the Ask the Allergist tool.

The Find an Allergist (FAA) tool has experienced significant growth over the last few years. We now have an FAA widget we offer to partner organizations for their websites and a series of FAA city pages that pre-populate search results with members’ contact information. We recently embarked on making further enhancements to the tool to expand the allergist profiles and the FAA’s functionality. Update your member profile today to add your photo, bio, practice website, languages spoken, education and more.

Advocacy and Government Relations

The Advocacy Council of ACAAI (formerly known as the Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology) offers a significant benefit at no additional cost to members. Headed by Allen Meadows, MD, FACAAI, Stephen Imbeau, MD, FACAAI, and James Sublett, MD, FACAAI, it serves as the leading advocate for practicing allergists and the profession by resolving complex payment disputes, monitoring and lobbying state and federal elected officials and government agencies, and representing the profession before payers, managed care groups and other health care entities.

With USP’s proposed change to regulations pertaining to in-office compounding, the Advocacy Council is working tirelessly to raise our concerns. On Feb. 2, Advocacy Council representatives and other College experts took part in a USP Stakeholder Roundtable. The goals of the roundtable were to share information, have an open dialogue and identify strategies for supporting best practices related to the preparation, use and maintenance of allergen immunotherapy compounding medicines. 

The Advocacy Council has also been knocking on doors in the Capitol to educate our lawmakers on the impact of the compounding regulations change on patients and practicing allergists and will do so again this May during our Capitol Hill day.  

Since the launch of the Defend Affordable Shots (DASH) funding and awareness campaign, over $135,000 has been raised to fight this important issue.

Annual Scientific Meeting

An important change in the way the College now develops the Annual Meeting program is our open call for proposals. While the College previously relied on the Annual Meeting Program Committee to brainstorm ideas, we are now giving our members the opportunity to shape the program.

We have also refined the structure of the Annual Meeting Program Committee as part of our organizational reform to create more synergies between the Education and Science Councils. We have created subcommittees that are closely aligned with our Science Committees, which allows us to tap into a broad range of expertise from among our member volunteers. Each subcommittee, composed of six to eight content area experts, rates proposals submitted within their area and forwards a prioritized list to the Annual Meeting Program Committee for consideration.

The Annual Meeting Program Committee, led by Bradley Chipps, MD, FACAAI, ensures all areas are adequately represented and meet the educational needs of our members. The Committee is currently in the process of planning the 2017 Annual Meeting: “Precision Medicine in Allergy Practice: A Rich History. A Strong Future.” Held in connection with the College’s 75th anniversary, we will look back on what we have accomplished and look forward to the advancements that will benefit the allergy community.