Trudie Lobban MBE is the Founder & Trustee of Arrhythmia Alliance (The Heart Rhythm Charity), Founder of Syncope Trust and Reflex anoxic Seizure group (STARS & STARS-US) and Founder & CEO of Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA). She is recognised as a world expert at representing patients and their carers as well as working closely with all those involved in the care and treatment of people affected by cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death and has contributed to medical papers and books as well as presenting at national and international meetings from Japan to USA and Norway to South Africa. Writing for the Hippocratic Post, Trudie discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the annual Arrhythmia Alliance Heart Rhythm Congress.
“When faced with a problem, we always try to find a solution”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating. In the UK alone, as of 16 September 2020, there have been almost 400,000 confirmed cases and more than 40,000 people have died. The pandemic has not only put a massive strain on the NHS but also the way we live our lives. The lockdown prevented us from seeing family and friends, and the need for social distancing means that large physical gatherings are out of the question. Thus, the Arrhythmia Alliance Heart Rhythm Congress 2020 (A-A HRC2020) could not be held, as originally planned, at the International Conventional Centre (ICC) in Birmingham on 27–30 September.
However, at Arrhythmia Alliance, when faced with a problem, we always try to find a solution. We were adamant that both HRC2020 and our Patients Day would go ahead as planned. We realised that not being able to—because of COVID-19—hold a physical meeting was a fantastic opportunity to reach more people with an interest in cardiac arrhythmias by delivering a virtual congress. So, we built the bespoke Arrhythmia Alliance Virtual Conference Centre to host A-A HRC2020.
In fact, launching on 27 September, the virtual A-A HRC2020 has the potential to be even better than the physical Congress because it will run for a whole year rather than just three days. Healthcare professionals who register, for free, before 27 September will have access to year-round learning—constantly being updated with new technology, new research, and better outcomes. They can view the presentations, and the virtual exhibition, at any time that’s convenient to them. Whether that’s when they’re commuting to work, on their lunchbreak, or at home. Also, between 27 and 30 September, live webinars will be broadcast with opportunities to directly talk to the speakers (and thereafter available for 12 months after their initial broadcast). Additionally, the virtual A-A HRC2020 is worth up to 24 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.
A-A Heart Rhythm Congress, in our view, has been always been unique. Physical or virtual, it provides a platform for anyone—healthcare professionals, patients, or industry—with an interest in the management of arrhythmias to share effective practice, showcase innovation, and learn about the latest developments. Arrhythmia Alliance firmly believes that collaboration is key, and we think, together with our delegates, we can make a strong and supportive virtual event for healthcare professionals, patients and industry alike.
Throughout the pandemic, Arrhythmia Alliance has been providing support and education to our NHS frontline staff. We are ensuring that COVID-19 does not negatively affect their studies in the long term. We have also been supporting our patients, who have needed us more than ever before. Whatever challenges we face, we continue with our mission to improve the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for all those affected by arrhythmias.
To view the full A-A HRC2020 programme, click here: https://bit.ly/32yHCWq
For a complimentary registration for A-A HRC2020, click here: https://bit.ly/3c6mZnW
Trudie Lobban, MBE, FRCP Edin, Founder and Trustee of Arrhythmia Alliance and Chair of the HRC Organising Committee