STS News, Summer 2020 — The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a powerful trigger that not only has changed just about everything in daily life, but also has accelerated adoption of new methods of education and information sharing.
As temperature taking, elbow bumps, and face coverings, as well as constant hand washing and hand sanitizing become the proverbial “new normal,” the Society is managing the immediate impact and recognizing the importance of keeping an eye on longer-term changes.
While there is much uncertainty about what the future holds, STS will be vigilant in its efforts to develop and share timely information, expanded resources, expert guidance, and superior educational opportunities. The Society’s top priority remains supporting the needs of its members and helping to ensure that those within the cardiothoracic surgery community stay connected, learn from one another, and lean on each other as the world tackles this historic public health crisis.
Here are some of the ways that STS is continuing to support its members and offer valuable products and services during this challenging time:
The Society canceled all remaining planned in-person meetings for 2020, but both the 17th Annual Perioperative and Critical Care Conference (September 24–26) and Advances in Quality & Outcomes: A Data Managers Meeting (September 29–October 2) will be held in virtual format. See page 11 for additional information about these upcoming courses.
At press time, STS was considering its options for the 57th Annual Meeting, scheduled for January 30–February 2, 2021, in Austin, Texas. The latest information can be found at sts.org/annualmeeting.
The Society presented the free live webinar series, “Cardiothoracic Surgery in the COVID Crisis,” which focused on important topics related to the coronavirus. Featuring STS members and other expert participants, including public health, industry, and infectious disease specialists, the webinars provided information on lessons learned, best practices, and key considerations to help navigate cardiothoracic surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic and ramp up for the future.
These webinars cumulatively attracted more than 8,000 viewers to the live broadcasts. An archive is available online at sts.org/webinars and on the STS YouTube channel.
Also now under way is the “STS Summer Series,” a collection of biweekly, hour-long webinars featuring presentations and discussions on a variety of key topics—some are related to the COVID-19 crisis, while others are geared toward clinical or career development topics in cardiothoracic surgery. The webinars are broadcast live via Zoom and Facebook on Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT.
The first episode, “Early Career Surgeons, COVID-19, and the Future,” aired on June 4. Moderators Joseph A. Dearani, MD, and Mara B. Antonoff, MD, talked to colleagues from around the US and in varying practice situations about how they have been coping—both physically and emotionally. The panel shared insights on how cardiothoracic surgeons can thrive in the specialty as they begin to emerge from the COVID crisis.
In addition, other episodes have explored topics such as robotic cardiac surgery and the financial impact of COVID on cardiothoracic surgery. The next webinar—scheduled for July 16—will highlight low-risk transcatheter aortic valve replacement, with the following episode delving into the challenging and controversial issue of Medicare reimbursement cuts. Webinar dates and topics may vary based on speaker availability.
The series will include seven episodes, and each episode will be available on the STS website and the Society’s YouTube channel the day after the live broadcast.
COVID-19 Resources Page
The COVID-19 Resources page offers a plethora of helpful information and resources, including links to a real-time tracking map, guidance documents, active research projects, resource tools, a personal protective equipment (PPE) burn rate calculator, and video messages from Dr. Dearani, STS President.
Also available are additional articles, videos, and PowerPoint presentations on topics such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, PPE, ventilator management, telehealth, and many others. Stay informed by visiting sts.org/covidresources.
A number of STS members have written blog articles, sharing their experiences and perspectives from the fight on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. The columns covered a broad range of topics, including staying grounded during COVID-19, how leaders make decisions during times of crisis, embracing the changes in health care, and how different regions, the US and Hong Kong, in particular, are dealing with the pandemic. A full list of the articles is available at sts.org/covidresources.
Throughout the upcoming weeks and months, the Society will continue to serve the surgical community by disseminating information, as well as facilitating opportunities and education.