Small is beautiful

The scientific sessions by the American College of Cardiology and the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapies (TCT) arguably are the big dogs in cardiology-related conferences. Many consider them “can’t miss” events, but smaller venues offer benefits as well.

This week the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) put on its annual Transcatheter Valves Therapy (TVT) meeting in Chicago. The program concentrated on aortic and mitral valves, with a deep dive into clinical considerations and technical advancements. CRF also organizes the TCT.

Next week MedAxiom will host its annual Cardiovascular Service Line Symposium. This program focuses on practice management and the structures in the healthcare systems that facilitate, and sometimes hinder, the use of the kinds of technologies and techniques discussed at meetings such as the TVT.  

The mega conferences bring large numbers of cardiology subspecialists up to date with late-breaking clinical trials and special tracks for specific disciplines. They also touch on topics such as reimbursement, professional development and other areas that a practicing physician may want to know to flourish and succeed.

These smaller conferences and symposia are rewarding in other ways. First, they don’t try to be all things to all people. They give participants an opportunity to be among colleagues with similar concerns, to swap stories and share strategies, with fewer distractions. They are more concentrated, both in content and in footprint.

For instance, the TVT collected many of the principal investigators of the major clinical trials under way for transcatheter aortic valve replacement: Partner II, SURTAVI, Evolut, REPRISE III and SALUS, plus researchers who helped conduct illuminating registry and other clinical trials. And it provided them with enough time to discuss findings on a granular level.

The service line symposium will feature innovators, too: medical directors, hospital administrators and others who have been there and done that. On the practice side, people like Michael Mack, MD, and Christopher White, MD, powerhouses from Texas and Louisiana, presenting beside hospital executives. Not every heart or vascular program on the roster is big, but they all have something useful to share.

The clinical informs the business side of practicing medicine and the business side makes it possible to serve patients. It is difficult to give optimal care without knowledge, resources, a functional infrastructure and a reasonably well-run system. These major conferences hit the highlights and the smaller meetings allow more reflection on them.

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Candace Stuart

Editor, Cardiovascular Business