Four Years Is A Long Time: Why I’m Going Back To ACE

In the midst of preparing to make the trip from my home in Arizona to Austin, TX for the 2010 AHDI Annual Convention and Expo (ACE), I’ve been thinking about the last national conference I attended and how long ago that was. Much to my shock and chagrin, I realized it will have been four years since my last ACE in Boston! Where has the time gone, and why has it been so long since I’ve attended ACE?

The “where” is a question nobody can answer, of course, but I do know the “why.” Without going into all the details, let’s just say that I had some differences of opinion with regard to the direction AHDI was headed and some questions about where I fit in the big picture. But time has a way of changing our perspective on things, and I must say I have a different outlook now with regard to AHDI and my place in the organization.

In a nutshell, while there are still some things about the association that I don’t like, I’ve come to two conclusions that have altered the way I feel about AHDI. The first is that people are more important than policies, procedures and politics. Without question the greatest benefit I’ve enjoyed over the years I’ve been associated with AAMT/AHDI has been the opportunity to meet and get to know so many outstanding people in our industry. The term “networking” has become a cliche, of course, but there’s still no substitute for it as far as I’m concerned. I think this is especially true in a field such as ours where so many of us are isolated from one another geographically. You won’t find a more techno-happy geek than me, but even I understand that nothing can take the place of honest-to-goodness, elbow-rubbing, hand-shaking, (maybe even some hugging) face time with real live human beings. That kind of personal contact, for me at least, has a way of taking the sharp edges off whatever differences of opinion we might have with one another. I’m not saying we MTs tend to get cranky when we only communicate virtually…well, yes, I guess I am saying that!

The second conclusion I’ve reached with regard to AHDI is that if ever there was truth to the old saying, “United we stand, divided we fall,” that time is now for the medical transcription industry. One of the things that I really had a problem with a few years ago was the notion that AHDI, a group representing working MTs, was merging (for all intents and purposes, if not explicitly) with MTIA, an organization for transcription service owners. There’s still a part of me that would like to think that in a world where MT practitioners were motivated to organize on a large scale, an association solely representing the rank and file would be a good thing. But as much as I hate to say it, we don’t live in that world. Furthermore, in the current healthcare environment, it’s going to take all hands on deck–ownership, management and labor together–if our industry has any hope of weathering the winds of change that are even now beginning to howl through our profession. Right now all of us, regardless of our roles, had better be focused on presenting a united front with a unified message to the rest of the healthcare community. The truth is that labor and management need each other, and failing to work together at this critical juncture will spell doom for all of us.

So after four years “on the sidelines,” it’s with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm that I prepare to make the trek to Texas to renew old acquaintances and no doubt make some new ones. Between meaningful use and the BGG, somehow I think we’ll have plenty to talk about!

See you in Austin!

By: Jay Vance, CMT
AHDI Lounge Administrator/Moderator