October 14, 2021, 2:50 p.m. News Staff — The Family Medicine Experience is the premier experience for family physicians and industry leaders to unite and advance the future of family medicine. And FMX 2021 was no different — nearly 4,000 attendees and more than 100 expert faculty and thought leaders came together virtually for five days of learning, growing and connecting.
If you missed FMX 2021, which took place Sept. 28-Oct. 2, you can still experience it — at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want on any device — with FMX On Demand, which allows you to earn more than 120 enduring CME credits. You can also
In addition to a wide variety of courses and workshops, FMX features inspiring and insightful keynote speakers from the Main Stage. And this year’s main stage sessions were followed up with “Beyond Main Stage” discussions where family physicians shared their experiences integrating main stage concepts into their practices. Here’s a look at some highlights from this year’s FMX Main Stage:
On Sept. 28, family physician Camara Jones, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., offered four allegories on racism during a Main Stage event designed to help family physicians define racism, understand its impacts and outline principles for achieving health equity. Jones, an adjunct associate professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine and an adjunct professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, launched the national Campaign Against Racism during her term as president of the American Public Health Association.
A Beyond Main Stage event followed up with a panel of family physician advocates offering strategies to achieve health equity. For example, Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, M.D., an associate professor and director for health equity in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Duke University in North Carolina, detailed how she helped form a network of stakeholders in March 2020 in anticipation of the health disparities her Latina community would face during the pandemic. The group, which has grown to more than 700 people, has worked to improve health equity and access through advocacy and outreach, resulting in changes in health policies, research grants, media opportunities, and access to interpreters and translated health materials.
Martinez-Bianchi said the work of LATIN-19 led the Latina community’s COVID-19 vaccination rate to be on par with that of white patients in Durham County, N.C.
“It really shows us that passion, commitment and showing data to support our claims and actually creating space where leaders are listening to community members has created a perfect potion of being able to listen, change and make a difference to improve health outcomes,” she said.
The pandemic has forced change and innovation in health care. The crisis also has provided an opportunity for family medicine to reimagine its future in a post-COVID world. Best-selling author Simon Sinek challenged attendees of a Sept. 29 Main Stage session to shift their mindsets and think differently about the changes they can make to support the transformation of health care.
Another Beyond Main Stage session followed with a panel discussion on the future of health care, which covered a broad range of topics, including health equity, self-care and the role of family medicine. Beth Oller, M.D., who owns a rural practice with her husband in Stockton, Kan., pointed out that COVID-19 had highlighted the importance of family medicine as patients look for trusted information about testing and vaccinations, and school districts, health departments and others looked for guidance and recommendations.
Jay Lee, M.D., M.P.H., said the pandemic had disproved the notion that health care is slow to change.
“All of us across the country, story after story of family physicians, we all became that physician we wrote about in our personal statements,” said Lee, chief medical officer for a community health center in Costa Mesa, Calif. “It was truly authentic heroism. What I’m most optimistic about because of that is that we become the leaders that our health systems need. … There are ways to change things pretty quickly when we need to. We need to keep our foot on the pedal, and we can energize each other to make it happen.”
In a Sept. 30 Main Stage event, cardiologist and CBS News Senior Medical Correspondent Tara Narula, M.D., said COVID-19 has made digital platforms even more prominent.
“In one sense, our lives have become more connected, and yet in my view, more and more detached,” said Narula, who added that while technology has the potential to improve care, it also makes it easy to lose human connection.
Narula, an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and associate director of the Women’s Heart Program at Lenox Hill Hospital, emphasized the need for empathy and communication, and shared her own story of waiting for MRI results as a medical student who experienced vision loss.
“I finally understood the overwhelming fear and feeling of helpless a patient feels,” she said.
The key, she said, is for physicians to make health care personal, to make each patient’s case meaningful and to ask not “What’s wrong with you?” but “What has happened to you?” and “How can I help you?”
“We all have a story,” she said. “We all have a journey of joy, pain, sorrow and courage that needs to be discovered, respected and understood by those who care for us in the medical and health care arena.”
In that same Main Stage event, AAFP Vice President and Chief Medical Informatics Officer Steven Waldren, M.D., M.S., offered updates from the Academy’s Innovation Lab, which identifies the latest family medicine-specific tools to enhance patient care and simplify administrative tasks. Waldren spoke about the AAFP’s ongoing work with Suki, a digital assistant for documentation, and Navina, an artificial intelligence-based platform that automates aggregation and analysis of patients’ data. He also previewed upcoming work, including a project expected to launch later this year that will assess an AI-based system that communicates with patients and answers their routine questions in order to decrease staff burden.
“We have a lot of different innovations focused on the many challenges that family physicians have with a real focus right now on reducing administrative burden,” Waldren said.
A corresponding Beyond the Main Stage session examined the future of telehealth. Natasha Bhuyan, M.D., a regional medical director for One Medical in Phoenix, said the rapid expansion of telehealth during the pandemic will allow health care systems to better measure its effectiveness, including the outcomes and costs of telehealth as well as other factors, including physician satisfaction. That data, she said, will drive how the technology is used going forward.
“Telehealth is preparing us for the future of health care,” she said, “where we’re seeing integrated systems and technology with things like the connected devices our patients are using. We have so much more insight into patient activity and patient data. More of the patient is actually coming into the clinical setting in a virtual way, and I think that’s really exciting.”
Of course, no FMX would be complete without Frank Domino, M.D., whose Top 10 Updates in Evidence-based Medicine have become a Main Stage staple. Domino, professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, and editor of a weekly evidence-based practice update, has been sharing some of his top takeaways for more than a decade. His 2021 presentation included the story of his own 34-year-old patient who had a mild case of COVID-19 but later developed pericardial effusion.
“It’s 10 times worse than the flu,” said Domino, who backed up his statement with death rates. When his session was recorded on Aug. 11, there had been more than 634,000 U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 in 15 months. He compared that to roughly 61,000 U.S. deaths during the “particularly bad” 2018 U.S. flu season. “It’s likely the coronavirus will become endemic. It’s going to make its presence known every year.”
Domino said he had given up trying to convince vaccine-resistant patients to be immunized with statistics and evidence, and instead has started asking patients if they know people who have been vaccinated.
“I ask them who in their world has received the vaccine and how did they do,” he said. “Did they develop adverse outcomes? Why did they get it? Once you get a patient talking about why someone may have chosen to get the vaccine who’s in their tribe, they rethink it and consider it for themselves.”
The Main Stage and Beyond the Main Stage are just the beginning. FMX offers courses and workshops as diverse as the specialty. FMX attendees have free access to On Demand content online for up to 25 hours of enduring CME credit. Attendees can upgrade and have access to more than 120 hours of FMX content and more than 120 hours of enduring CME credit. Cost for the upgraded “maximizer” package is $395 for members and $595 for nonmembers.
For those who missed the live FMX, the price for 120-plus hour On Demand package is $995 for members and $1,195 for nonmembers. The package includes
The AAFP already is making plans for FMX 2022, and so can you. Save up to $200 off the on-site price when you register in advance for the Sept. 20-24 event in Washington, D.C.