The European Respiratory Society (ERS) is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the ERS Presidential Summit 2021: ‘Digital respiratory medicine – realism vs futurism’.
The Summit will take place online from 3–4 June and registration is completely free.
The two-day event focuses on digital health, aiming to define the innovations that are realistic for digital respiratory medicine in the here and now and those that are more aspirational and futuristic.
Ahead of the event’s launch, we spoke to the ERS President Prof. Anita Simonds, to learn more about what to expect from this year’s Summit.
Q&A with ERS President Prof. Anita Simonds
Q: ERS organises lots of events throughout the year. What makes the ERS Presidential Summit unique?
A: “Each ERS President chooses a topic to focus on for their year in office, and the Presidential Summit and the ERS International Congress are the perfect opportunities to explore this topic in more detail.”
Q: Why did you choose to focus on digital respiratory medicine for this year’s Summit?
A: “I chose digital respiratory medicine as it affects all team members and patients across the whole range of respiratory medicine. It can improve care, but in other areas it has been introduced with little formal evaluation – a situation which would never apply with any other medical interventions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rapid increase in digital care delivery, to a large extent out of necessity. Patients have been seen by virtual consultations and there has been a marked increase in telemonitoring to reduce infection risks. There has also been an increase in use of big data and artificial intelligence to improve diagnostics and improve management algorithms. Our aim in the Summit is to assess what works, what is realistic for current practice, and what is futuristic and requires further evaluation.”
Q: How does the Summit meet the needs of health professionals from all respiratory specialities?
A: “I hope it will answer the questions respiratory team members want to raise about treatment efficacy and the need for further evaluation in their own practice.”
Q: What can Summit attendees expect to take away from the event?
A: “Attendees should gain a better perspective on digital approaches that work and will enhance patient care, plus what the digital future is likely to hold.”
Q: Which topics are you most interested to learn about at the Summit? What makes them so interesting to you?
A: “I am interested in artificial intelligence. Indeed, it has recently been noted that AI is neither artificial – since it is human-generated – or particularly intelligent. It certainly holds real possibilities but has limitations and may perpetuate biases too, so it has to be evaluated as carefully as any other approach.”
Q: Is there one session you are most looking forward to?
A: “I am looking forward to the sessions on the virtual ward and virtual rehabilitation. These are areas that expanded greatly due to COVID, and they have the potential to be a significant part of our care delivery in the post-COVID world, for example to reduce admissions and facilitate early hospital discharge. We also have to get better at understanding how to deliver education/knowledge and skills to our teams and patients virtually. Our new ERS Respiratory Channel should help with that.”
ERS welcomes all with an interest in the respiratory field, digital health, and members of the wider respiratory community to take part in this free event.