The Clinical Practice subcommittee had developed a fully formed and comprehensive meeting plan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing ACR Convergence 2020 to move to the all-virtual format. The change in format led to some adjustments related to the length and amount of content that could be delivered via an online meeting, but Clinical Practice Subcommittee Chair Diane Kamen, MD, MSCR, said that a great program became even better and more relevant to the rheumatology community.
“Some of the themes that went along with the rethinking of the program was to make it available to the global rheumatology community. We wanted to make sure the program would be meaningful to people around the globe, knowing that going online could actually broaden the audience that will be able to attend the meeting,” Dr. Kamen said. “Then we revamped one of the existing sessions on racial inequities and health disparities since that is so relevant, especially at this important time.”
Clinical trial results over the past year have shown great advances in lupus, and multiple sessions will outline the novel treatments that indicate improved outcomes in both active general systemic lupus and lupus nephritis.
“People don’t want to miss these sessions because it’s going to be hot-off-the-press information that they’ll want to take back to their patients,” Dr. Kamen said.
The virtual meeting schedule sets us in a way that pleases Dr. Kamen. The two blocks of sessions each day, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST and 3 – 6 p.m. EST, and the specific times for the various sessions was purposefully chosen to make sure the maximum number of speakers would be available for a live question-and-answer period as part of the initial showing of the presentations.
And the sessions will be available on an on-demand basis for those unable to fit the initial showing into their schedules.
“We know everybody won’t be able to attend live, so we will have opportunities to get engaged with the speakers, as well, and interact outside of the session,” Dr. Kamen said. “That goes for posters, too, having the poster room available virtually outside of the time that poster presenters will be there. We’re trying for maximum flexibility, even in these restricting circumstances when we can’t be there in person.”
Sessions of note include:
Telerheumatology: How COVID-19 Changed It & What’s in the Future
Friday. Nov. 6 | 3 – 3:45 p.m.
Almost overnight, telehealth visits became the majority of patient visits. Even as in-person appointments rebound, telehealth visits will remain. Learn how to maximize its potential, avoid pitfalls, and use ACR resources to implement the best practices for sustainable, profitable programs.
Address Racial Disparities in Rheumatology: RA, OA & Arthroplasty
Friday, Nov. 6 | 3 – 4 p.m.
This session will review current outcomes data for RA and OA, including TKA, THA and DMARD utilization in the general population, explore racial disparities, and describe approaches to begin to address these challenges. Although African Americans have more symptomatic OA compared to Whites, they are more likely to delay care and present with more severe disease. They are also less likely to undergo TKA or THA, a disparity that has persisted for decades. For patients with RA, there are similar delays in seeking care and initiating DMARDs and biologics.
COVID-19 Around the World: Impact on Rheumatology
Friday, Nov. 6 | 4 – 5 p.m.
Evidence-based insights into risk stratification and management guidelines are now emerging. In this session, get the latest data from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Registry, including risk factors for poor patient outcomes such as hospitalization, intubation and mortality. Also learn about emerging risk-stratification and management guidelines and the effect of immunomodulating and immunosuppressive medications on patient susceptibility to COVID-19.
Diversity & Inclusion: Examine the Effects of Unconscious Bias
Saturday, Nov. 7 | 5 – 6 p.m.
To explore persistent healthcare disparities, this session examines the root cause: unconscious or implicit bias. Participants will
Learn how to recognize unconscious bias and realize how it limits diversity and inclusion in medical training, clinical trial development and patient recruitment, and patient access to care. The session also will examine strategies for rheumatologists to maximize advocacy for our patients.
Thieves Market: Show Me Your Best Cases
Sunday, Nov. 8 | 12 – 1 p.m.
This always popular session features interesting clinical cases relevant to rheumatology. It provides the opportunity for attendees to compare their diagnostic and management strategies with presenters and their peers.
In the Rheum: The Science of Empathy in Rheumatology: Why We Should Care
Monday, Nov. 9 | 12 – 12:45 p.m.
Empathy is integral patient satisfaction and helping close the gap between providers’ and patients’ goals. And empathic providers have greater job satisfaction and less burnout. Learn valuable, practical techniques that clinicians can use every day in their own practices.