Dr. Rosevear is a urologist in community practice in Colorado Springs, CO. Urology Times blogs present opinions, advice, and news from urologists and other urology professionals. Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Urology Times or its parent company, UBM Medica. Please let your voice be heard by joining the conversation in the comments section of each post.
Life throws curveballs. I was driving to an outreach clinic early one morning a few weeks before the AUA annual meeting when suddenly my car swerved and, after somehow missing the median, I ended up in a ditch. Turns out I hit a nail and blew out a tire. As I was sitting in the ditch collecting my thoughts, I decided that maybe the nail was a wake-up call and that I should spend more time with my family.
So, with help from Southwest Airlines, I changed my flight plans to attend my daughter's kindergarten graduation the Friday of AUA and didn't fly out until late that evening. I also came home a day early to see one of my younger daughters in a musical. All told, I spent approximately 40 hours in San Francisco for AUA this year.
My conclusion? The AUA is still the best conference a urologist can attend (even albeit briefly), and the recent change in duration from 5 to 4 days only makes the conference better. But how can I have any opinion on a conference that I barely attended? Electronic access. As I wrote in an earlier blog post, I purchased online access to the instructional course and, combined with videos of the plenary sessions, I was able to attend, at least virtually, almost the entire conference. The money I spent on the virtual AUA conference was well worth it.
Here are some of the highlights.
Probably my favorite lecture was Atul Butte, MD, PhD’s lecture on big data, which was the annual Ramon Guiteras Lecture. Big data, as we are all learning first hand via the issues Facebook is facing, is incredibly powerful. It has the opportunity to radically change how medicine is delivered. The questions of who will control the data and how will it be used in the trenches of urology remain unanswered. Personally, I also see a future for the use of big data to optimize the running of large urology practices as I’m confident that this type of data can be mined to the betterment of the bottom line.
As I have said before, I don't consider guideline presentations to be the "coolest" lectures, but they certainly provide some of the highest yield. Two that I found particularly helpful were the guidelines on castrate-resistant prostate cancer (074IC) and testosterone replacement therapy (073IC). I wonder if, now that the AUA has good guidelines on how to safely prescribe testosterone, the decline in testosterone prescriptions will start to rise again.