January’s virtual annual meeting of the Society for Technology in Anesthesia (STA) featured our faculty member Ira Hofer, MD, as meeting co-chair, while other faculty members – Drs. Nirav Kamdar, Theodora Wingert, Laleh Jalilian, and Eilon Gabel – led panel discussions and presented their own research.
Our department chair, Maxime Cannesson, MD, PhD, took office as the society’s 2021 President. An expert in physiologic monitoring, closed-loop anesthesia systems, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics, Dr. Cannesson said his goals for the STA are to grow the membership, promote automation and clinical decision support systems in the perioperative setting, and position the society to attract a diverse group of anesthesiologists, PhDs, and industry partners.
Dr. Hofer noted that the conference hosted five panel discussions, each with a half-hour of prerecorded talks and then a half-hour of interactive discussion led by the moderators.
Nirav Kamdar, MD, MPP, MBA, our department’s Director of Quality, led a panel discussion on telehealth titled, “Virtual Care: Did You Zoom Your Patient Yet?” The presentations included Dr. Kamdar’s talk on “Telehealth: A Digital Portal to Perioperative Care”. Laleh Jalilian, MD, spoke on the topic, “Virtual Care in the Health System of the Future: Digital Technologies for a Remote Future.”
Theodora Wingert, MD, moderated a panel discussion concerning “Pediatrics: It’s Not Just Small Adults.” She commended the panelists, Drs. Jorge Galvez and Terri Sun, for outstanding presentations on pediatric medical device innovation and the development of a smartphone app for managing pediatric postoperative pain. Dr. Wingert, an expert on information technology in the medical environment, delivered a presentation titled, “Big Data, Little People: Challenges and Opportunities in Pediatric Database Research.”
“I was really excited and honored to bring this panel to this year’s STA meeting,” Dr. Wingert said. “Pediatric research is a topic that is very near and dear to me, and unfortunately one that can sometimes lag behind that of adults.”
In her talk, Dr. Wingert discussed some of the unique barriers and challenges in pediatric research, and why these exist. On a positive note, she said, there is reason to believe that the next few years will bring considerable progress in pediatric research.
Eilon Gabel, MD, MS, our Director of Informatics Operations, presented a poster, “A Framework for Evaluating Healthcare Machine-Learning Models: Application and Analysis Using Hospital Readmission.”
UCLA medical student Andrew Lee presented his poster, “Defining Gender and Race/Ethnicity-Specific Laboratory Reference Ranges and its Impact on Predicting Postoperative Acute Kidney Injury and Mortality Outcomes.” Dr. Hofer mentored this research project.
“While everyone at the conference missed seeing each other in person, there were silver linings,” Dr. Hofer said. “In particular, all participants liked the ability to use the chat feature in Zoom, and there was an active conversation throughout the day. Everyone agreed that we should incorporate chat next year even if we are back in person.” Another advantage was the increase in remote attendance, he noted. “There was even one attendee who signed in from Kenya!”
The meeting also featured a “surprise” 30-minute question-and-answer session with Julian Goldman, MD, who is Medical Director of Biomedical Engineering at the Mass General Brigham Health System, and has been a Visiting Scholar in the FDA Medical Device Fellowship Program. Dr. Goldman discussed emergency changes in government regulation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and described work on a ventilator that can be programmed remotely.
Dr. Hofer said the feedback from attendees at the virtual meeting was very positive, and Dr. Wingert called it “the most interesting, informative, interactive virtual event I’ve participated in thus far.”
Dr. Cannesson said one of his principal tasks as the new STA President will be to help navigate the challenges associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and guide planning for the next STA annual meeting, which is scheduled for January 2022, in Las Vegas. He has served on the STA Board since 2009, and is the Executive Section Editor on technology, monitoring, and computing for Anesthesia & Analgesia.