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ACE 2013 Keynotes

Opening Keynote

The Medical Record and Beyond: Patient Advocacy in Today's Healthcare System
Dalia Al-Othman, Esq.
Thursday, August 1
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
1 Professional Development

The term "patient advocacy" can apply to any activity that ultimately benefits patients. Thousands of people serve as volunteer patient advocates for their friends and loved ones, and a myriad of healthcare professionals, including healthcare documentation specialists, act as patient advocates as part of their jobs. However, over the past decade or so "patient advocacy" has also begun to develop as a profession in its own right, within the field of healthcare. Healthcare documentation specialists are among those professionals uniquely poised to become valuable members of and contributors to this exciting and crucial new profession.

Our healthcare system is moving toward a new model in which patients are at the center of their own care, manage their own healthcare teams, and proactively participate in medical decisions that will affect their lives. Patients and providers alike are finally realizing that the old "doctor knows best" mentality needs to be abandoned in favor of a new model of patient-centered health care where shared decision-making and transparency is the norm. But abandoning the old in order to welcome the new is never an easy process. Even today, the most assertive and educated of patients sometimes still adopt an "ignorance is bliss" attitude when it comes to their health, and studies have shown that an alarming 31% of sick patients in the U.S. leave their doctors' offices without having important questions answered. If we really want to leave our old mentalities behind and welcome instead this new and wiser model of health care, then patient advocates of all types will be essential to bridge the gap between the old healthcare model and the new patient-centered model.

Attendees will learn what patient advocacy is, what patient advocates do, and what education and skills patient advocates need. Attendees will learn why patient advocates are crucial if we want to implement the new model of patient-centered health care, and they will gain a general understanding of the various types of patient advocacy (including private versus hospital-based, and some of the niches within the broader field).

Dalia Al-Othman, Esq. (Harvard University, BA in English, 1998; Harvard Law School, JD, 2001) practiced corporate and tax law from 2001-2004, and then served as managing director and general counsel at a multi-billion dollar distressed debt hedge fund until 2007.

In 2007, Ms. Al-Othman acquired a staphylococcus infection at a well-known hospital in Boston and spent 5 years fighting to save her leg from amputation. She underwent 17 surgeries, months of intravenous antibiotics, and physical therapy that continues to this day.

As a result of her experiences, Ms. Al-Othman is passionate about healthcare quality improvement and patient empowerment. In 2011, she founded Health Care Navigators, LLC (www.health-care-navigators.com), a private, professional patient advocacy business that provides comprehensive and personalized services to individuals and families who need help navigating our complicated healthcare system and obtaining the best medical care possible.

Closing Keynote

Exploring the Magic of Disney’s Animal Healthcare Program
Scott Terrell, DVM, Dipl. ACVP
Saturday, August 3
2:10 – 3:10 p.m.
0.5 Complementary Medicine

This presentation will provide a behind-the-scenes look into the animal health care program at Walt Disney World and demonstrate how we achieve our primary mission of "delivering excellence in animal health care on a local and global level." All facets of the medical program will be presented including: the challenges and rewards of working with exotic species, the challenges and rewards of practicing medicine "on-show" for our guests, the use of advanced medical technology, the importance of medical documentation and information management, and the role of behavioral training in medicine. We will also discuss Disney's role in animal health and conservation around the world and why helping animals and nature is part of the Disney Company's heritage.

Dr. Scott Terrell is the Animal Health Director for the Animals, Science, and Environment line of business, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He has been with the Disney company for 14 years. Dr. Terrell received his veterinary degree in 1997 from the University of Florida and completed a residency in Anatomic Pathology also from UF in 1999. He continues his academic interests through an appointment as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology at UF. Dr. Terrell is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and has served on many National and International committees dealing with animal health and conservation. He is an author or co-author of 50 scientific manuscripts and over 100 scientific presentations.

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