Early-bird abstracts take wing

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) decided to make most abstracts available to attendees for online viewing next week, several days before the conference starts. The move likely will change the experience for everyone.

At a press briefing earlier this week, the planners for the scientific session discussed the late-breaking clinical trials on the docket for March 14-16. Before going through the lineup, the group offered some housekeeping items and a review of what’s new, with the early peek at general abstracts topping the list.

The ACC described the change as a way to enhance the experience for attendees. The online postings will not include the late-breakers and some featured research. But with about 2,200 abstracts accepted for the 2015 session, the preview will let attendees cull through the offerings in advance of the conference and plan their agendas beforehand.

Hats off to the ACC for this decision. This change supports researchers’ mission to disseminate their scientific findings and add to the knowledge base. The scientific meetings provide a high-profile platform to achieve this, and in a format that allows for discussion and debate.

Now cardiologists and others can spend more time attending their preselected choices instead of making those decisions on the fly. They also can review abstracts on their own schedule and pace, which should mean a more reflective and less frenetic experience.

At the same time, this seems like a gamble by the ACC. Conferences like to have a buzz, that sense of anticipation and excitement that something significant is around the corner. The late-breakers epitomize that phenomena, but will this put unintended pressure on future session planners to gravitate toward more buzz-worthy late-breaking clinical trials? Will it spoil the “aha!” moment for other presenters and their audiences?

ACC.15 is about two weeks away and the abstracts should become available on March 2. Assuming all goes smoothly, that gives lots of time to review and prepare. A Cardiovascular Business team will be there, so let us know if you liked or didn’t like this preview option and why.

Candace Stuart

Editor, Cardiovascular Business