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Coronavirus Crisis Continues to Escalate

Conference cancelations mark the beginning of an uncertain future

Published: March 13, 2020

The emergence of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has become a national crisis. There are more questions than answers at this point and the situation continues to evolve rapidly, seemingly by the hour. Amid uncertainty, several leading healthcare organizations have called off or postponed their annual conferences.

  • The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), which owns Outpatient Surgery Magazine, canceled its annual Global Surgical Conference and Expo for the first time in the event's 67 years of existence. It was to be held later this month in Anaheim, Calif. "Everyone, including AORN, wants a conference that is an outstanding experience and certainly one that ensures a safe environment," the organization stated. "AORN takes very seriously its mission to keep healthcare workers and surgical patients safe. Despite everyone's best efforts, we cannot promise a safe environment for nurses, exhibitors, vendors and staff."
  • The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) show in Orlando, Fla., scheduled to run this week, was canceled just four days before the planned opening — the first time in its 58-year history the event will not occur.
  • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) cancelled its annual conference, due to be held this month in Orlando, Fla. In a statement, AAOS said the decision came after much consideration and discussion. "The ongoing spread of coronavirus has been a serious concern for us all, and its implications have substantially affected the logistics of the meeting," said the organization. "The health, safety and well-being of the AAOS global community is our highest priority."
  • The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) announced it was postponing its annual conference, slated for Cleveland later this month. It will now take place August 12 to 15 in the same location. "This decision was not made lightly but was the only viable option in good conscience we could make to preserve the health and safety of our surgeon attendees and patients," the organization stated.

The CDC's latest information on COVID-19 in the U.S. is available here. Check out AORN's coronavirus toolkit and ECRI's outbreak preparedness center for information on protecting your staff and patients from possible infection.

This situation remains extremely fluid. Check this space for updates and look for expanded coverage of COVID-19 and its impact on the outpatient surgery industry in our April issue.

Joe Paone

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Lessons Learned During the Pandemic
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The Secret to Safer Surgery
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