The AO Trustees Meeting 2022

Innovation and digitalization

The AO Trustees Meeting 2022, the first fully face-to-face meeting in three years, was held in Vancouver, Canada, on June 21−23. The format was a one-and-a half-day business meeting, with a strong focus on innovation at the AO and digitalization's impact on orthopedic surgery. Addressing assembled Trustees, Past Presidents, guest speakers, and DePuy Synthes guests, AO President Florian Gebhard opened the meeting by warmly welcoming all to Vancouver, especially the new honorary Trustees and new Trustees elected since the last face-to-face Trustees Meeting in 2019. The President handed over to AO Senior Trustee Robert Meek, a Vancouver native, who introduced the social, cultural, economic, and geographical history of the city of Vancouver and British Columbia.

AO Education Institute Executive Director Urs Rüetschi went after Meek with a presentation on innovation in medical education. AO Research Institute Davos (ARI) Executive Director Geoff Richards presented the latest ARI innovations, followed by Immediate AO Past President Robert McGuire who gave an update on recent AO Alliance activities.

After a break, the AO Clinical Division's conducted breakout sessions with the Trustees on several relevant specialty topics. AO Trauma featured AO Milestones: assessment approaches in adaptive and personalized learning; AO Spine and AO CMF focused on fellowship models; and AO VET looked at how to attract, engage, and maintain young professionals in their clinical division.

The afternoon was devoted to the Annual Meeting and the associated governance business, including the election of AO Foundation Board members and Regional Members of the Assembly of Trustees.

Thursday morning started with an overview on the culture of innovation at the AO by Claas Albers, Executive Director, Innovation Translation. On a similar theme Company Group Chairman at DePuy Synthes, Aldo Denti, gave many insights into how they are reimagining orthopedics with life-enhancing innovation and digital surgery enablers. The core theme of innovation was continued by Stefan Vilsmeier, the CEO of Brainlab, who gave an in-depth presentation on the impact of digitalization on orthopedic surgery.

These fascinating presentations provided much food for thought and were followed by a lively speaker panel discussion with many questions and comments from the assembled Trustees on new trends, opportunities, and challenges for the AO going forward.

The remainder of the final morning was dedicated to breakout sessions looking at topics that included the values that AO Trustees stand for, if AO surgeons feel ready to start digital surgery, and where surgeons can go at the AO with their great ideas.

The AO Trustees Meeting 2022 closed with some final words from Florian Gebhard and an invitation to the AO Trustees Meeting 2023 at the same time next year in Sydney, Australia.