As our specialty continues to face aggressive challenges, it's never been more important to advocate for, and increase awareness of, the role anesthesiologists play as expert physicians in the care of patients before, during, and after surgery, as well as in the ICU and our clinics.

ASA's communications initiatives, which are guided by the Committee on Communications (COC), are essential to helping us accomplish this by engaging key stakeholder audiences, including policymakers, health care executives, the public, and ASA members. Our goals in highlighting how we're Made for This Moment are to:

  • Support ASA's advocacy efforts among federal and state policymakers and influencers

  • Combat scope of practice misinformation.

  • Promote anesthesiologists' brand

  • Raise patient and public awareness of the specialty

  • Actively and purposefully reach patients and employers.

Here are some highlights of how we use multiple channels to reach millions with information about the impact and value of anesthesiology.

Digital advertising, the Made for This Moment public website, and social media channels consistently deliver messages about the importance of physician-led anesthesia care, and the role of anesthesiologists, to our target audiences.

Our digital ad messages underscore how “all constituents deserve high-quality care,” “anesthesiologists are irreplaceable,” and “only medical doctors can be anesthesiologists.” These ads were viewed nearly 19 million times in 2022 and received more than 875,000 views in the first quarter of 2023. Ads featuring video were viewed in their entirety nearly 10.8 million times last year, with an average video completion rate of more than 90%.

To strategically reach the public, including patients who are preparing for surgery, ASA develops content for the Made for This Moment website based on the information people actively search for online. The most recent updates include new pages on “biopsy” and “hysterectomy surgery.” We've also refreshed content on pages that provide resources – about anesthesiology and anesthesiologists – for health care executives and policymakers. The website received nearly 2 million visits in 2022, a 12% increase over 2021. Most of this traffic (92%) was generated by online searches such as Google, creating high visibility for ASA pages.

Our social media content supplements these efforts by providing first-person stories, focusing on how anesthesiologists make a difference during critical moments, and data showcasing the specialty's value. This content has generated nearly 340,000 engagements across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

We also rely on you, as ASA members, to help promote the value of the specialty. To help that task, we offer resources through our “Be the Solution: Sell Your C-Suite on the Value and Leadership of Anesthesiologists” program to reach health care executives, and the “Enhancing Patient Communications Program” to reach the public.

The Be the Solution program – developed by a working group of anesthesiologists who are also health care executives – is designed to position you as a leader in your hospitals and health systems. To help promote your value, the program's toolkit includes simple action steps you can take to engage with your hospital or health system leaders on topics that matter to them. New resources on workforce challenges, a prevalent issue affecting all of health care, will be added soon.

To help build on and improve your patient experiences, the Enhancing Patient Communications Program provides you with resources to help use effective communications in all patient interactions. The COC subgroup that developed this program toolkit has also created a new 1.5-hour CME course on topics such as Introducing Yourself, Establishing Roles, Avoiding Jargon, and Nonverbal Communication.

Check out both resources (Be the Solution: asamonitor.pub/3No4M9m and Enhancing Patient Communications Program: asahq.org/PatientCommunication) and stay tuned for more updates.

Beyond Be the Solution, ASA is expanding its efforts to reach health care executives through a partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA).

The partnership included an “at-capacity” virtual discussion on how anesthesiologists help health care executives as they face enormous challenges, including staffing shortages, lower inpatient bed availability, and reduced OR capacity. Anesthesiologists and health care executives Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MHA, FACHE, FASA, and Joanne Conroy, MD, helped lead the discussion on the role the specialty can play in improving perioperative performance, increasing the use of existing OR capacity, and exploring new models to address surgical backlogs. Insights from the discussion are featured in an e-book, and the conversation will continue in an AHA “Bringing Value” podcast due for release soon (asamonitor.pub/42Ar6ks).

Anesthesiologists and our specialty (and ASA specifically) are go-to resources for national media on topics related to anesthesia and pain medicine. ASA spokespersons were quoted in a record-breaking number of placements in 2022, with 4,170 media placements reaching a potential audience of more than 7.3 billion people. Coverage highlights included Bloomberg, Everyday Health, Men's Health, MSN, United Press International, and The Wall Street Journal.

ASA conducts media outreach proactively, but also in response to news as it happens, advocacy initiatives, and other timely news coming out of the society. High-profile coverage in 2023 kicked off with news on innovative studies presented at ADVANCE 2023, the Food and Drug Administration's approval of over-the-counter naloxone, the ASRA Pain Medicine guidelines on perioperative cannabis use, and news from the Anesthesiology journal. A total of 1,218 placements, reaching a potential audience of 2.8 billion, were secured January through April in outlets such as TIME, U.S. News & World Report, and the Washington Post.

Keep an eye on ASA's communications channels for further updates on our initiatives and how you can get involved.

Adam Striker, MD, FASA, Chair, ASA Committee on Communications, and Staff Anesthesiologist, Children's Wisconsin, Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Adam Striker, MD, FASA, Chair, ASA Committee on Communications, and Staff Anesthesiologist, Children's Wisconsin, Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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