Teodora Nicolescu, MD
President, The European Society for Computing and Technology in Anesthesia and Intensive Care (ESCTAIC)
The past almost two years have taken a toll on all of us, whether personal or professional. For all professional societies, this has been even more daunting. Aside from the lack of in-person meetings and their social beneficial aspect, societies were compounded with the need to shift to virtual conferences.
That presented a whole host of new issues such as technical considerations associated with virtual meetings. For large societies that may have been a less daunting process due to access to larger resources, for ESCTAIC this was a new challenge that we surpassed successfully.
This was mainly due to great collaboration among the society members who were able to support each other during these trying times.
The anaesthesiologists members of our society were like from any other society: on the frontlines of the pandemic, while our other members were helping with the establishment of the technical aspects that made our meetings possible.
The pandemic has shifted our way of doing business as well. That was a major change for our society as we needed to change the bylaws to accommodate from virtual meetings to voting software in order to have our general assembly goals met.
ESCTAIC is a small society but a very social one. We welcome the exchange of ideas that come from different fields that our members have since we have engineers, medical doctors, bio-technicians and more. It is a diverse society, both in the professional way as well in the balanced gender of our members.
Our congress is not focused on medical aspects only. It actually looks at technological future advancements such as organisational aspects of virtual hospitals, the cloud use and the progress made from using it to increasing safety by using applications such as blockchain technology for medication safety.
As such it offers a wide array of topics, that is only complemented by our anaesthesiologists’ members that are bringing experience from aspects of monitoring and new devices that are getting on the market to new airway devices.
ESCTAIC usually has one session organised every two years as a congress and the other years we usually organise a session under the umbrella of ESAIC during the annual meeting.
As I said in my opening phrase, the pandemic has shifted a lot of our priorities. But slowly we are getting back to normal. Some of the pandemic changes will stay with us. Zoom meetings may be possible for those members or non-members who want to attend our sessions. A lot of new topics already will make their way in and our society will have an important role in being a flagship in the development of new perioperative protective equipment or better isolation techniques, given the number of engineers with medical field backgrounds. We are also looking forward at spearheading topics related to Watson and its applications.
It was the continuous support that helped us tremendously weather the pandemic as a society. It will be that same support that will be the foundation for our future. But there is more: building new relationships with our US counterparts will make for a really interesting exchange of experience, ideas and technological advancements. And increasing collaboration with regional societies will expand the reach of our society as well as those of the regional societies. It is a global world we are moving towards, our society is following that very same pathway.
I am looking forward to those projects as well as a renewed hope that we will be back to normal and in-person meetings in 2022. And look forward to hosting a great Congress for ESCTAIC where we hope more people will join us.