The world of healthcare has become global. The International Association for Ambulatory Surgery (IAAS) is a conglomerate of ambulatory surgery associations from numerous countries (website: www.iaas-med.com). The main mission of IAAS is to promote worldwide development of high quality day surgery (outpatient surgery or ambulatory surgery). This is achieved through education and training for surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses practicing in the ambulatory setting. Multi-disciplinary, international exchange of knowledge and experience in ambulatory surgery occurs through biennial IAAS congresses and participation in national conferences in Europe, North and South America, Australasia, Asia and Africa. In addition, IAAS disseminates knowledge through its journal “Ambulatory Surgery” (website: www.ambulatorysurgery.com).IAAS also stimulates research in ambulatory care including international benchmarking as well as development of databases and guidelines for the practice of ambulatory surgery.
Politically, the IAAS has lobbied International healthcare bodies such as the European Union, the World Health Organization, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and several national governments, on the benefits of ambulatory surgery. For example, publication of a Policy Brief – “Day Surgery: Making it Happen” was developed by the World Health Organization on behalf of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies in collaboration with the IAAS. As a consequence of these activities the number of national ambulatory surgery associations has increased as has the prevalence of ambulatory surgery worldwide. In fact, IAAS initiatives of collaboration and exchange of knowledge and clinical practices between member associations should facilitate reduction in health inequalities between the high-income and the low and middle income countries.
The IAAS allows each member country to amplify their mission. IAAS offers each member country an widespread international platform for the dissemination of knowledge and clinical expertise. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of IAAS, it provides prestige and influence–the voice of each member organization is spread to the anaesthesia and surgical specialties as well as nurses and hospital managers involved with ambulatory surgical care. Also, the relationship with IAAS has successfully promotes mission of the development of safe high quality ambulatory care to countries around the world. The association with IAAS permits member organizations to benchmark the their ambulatory surgery practice with the rest of the world, and each member learns from the international experience. These activities make member organization an ‘outward-looking’ international association. Over the years, each member organization has been able to develop important links with colleagues from across the globe. Most importantly, each member organization influences development of recommendations and guidelines ensuring uniform guidance.
Delegates from member countries work tirelessly to spread the mission of their association through IAAS. Although recent travel restrictions have made it more challenging the delegates have ensured that their country is included in the Ambulatory Surgery family across the world. They have:
- Played an active role in promoting the goals of IAAS through participation on the Scientific Committee of the International Congresses.
- Encouraged inclusion of designated sessions in IAAS International Congress on Ambulatory Surgery.
- Of note, speakers to the IAAS International Congress are selected by host country in collaboration with the IAAS Scientific Program Committee.
- Encouraged a combined conference with IAAS and member country with an aim of providing broad education for ambulatory practitioners worldwide.
- Played an important part in IAAS training program (e.g., at hospitals in Budapest as part of European Union Program that IAAS was approached to deliver).
In summary, safe and affordable ambulatory surgery will only develop worldwide through international cooperation. As the leading international organization, the core value of the IAAS namely–high quality ambulatory surgical care through team effort with input from all the disciplines involved with perioperative care–is what it provides to the members organizations. Membership in IAAS gives country organizations an visibility, worldwide, leadership presence in ambulatory surgical care. Each country organization is unique within IAAS with common goals, and it is the mutual fertilization which strengthen both IAAS and the member organization. IAAS is therefore, an ideal medium to bring the entire world to a higher level of perioperative care including anaesthesia care. Each organization has a duty, and should be proud to share its experience and expertise with other countries across the globe. In fact, the IAAS would welcome even closer interconnection. Member organization can facilitate the common goals through participation in IAAS conferences as attendees and presenters as well as access to the journal Ambulatory Surgery and IAAS newsletters that provide information about ambulatory practice around the world. Finally, IAAS is a unique multi-disciplinary, international organization, and to be true to its mission, each member association must maintain its position in the IAAS.
Prepared by Girish P. Joshi, MBBS, MD, FCAI, SAMBA-F