Virtual ACC.20/WCC: The Show Must Go On

Cardiology Magazine Image

The ACC Annual Scientific Session has been a staple for the latest in science, education and networking for cardiovascular professionals worldwide for the past 69 years. Years are spent planning and coordinating this global conference.

However, this year was different as the COVID-19 pandemic was quickly spreading across the world causing a monumental shift in health care focus, travel bans, social distancing and quarantines. As this unanticipated pandemic was ramping up in the U.S., the ACC was forced to make the difficult decision to cancel the meeting, which was set to take place in Chicago, IL.

As many major medical societies were forced to cancel their annual meetings and conferences, the ACC set themselves apart by quickly converting the conference onto a virtual platform.

The ACC worked tirelessly with its key stakeholders to recreate an entire meeting online in less than three weeks. This allowed for all of those who have spent countless hours on research and presentations to still be able to share their work on a global scale.

ACC.20 Together With World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC) Virtual took place live on March 28 – 30. More than 38,000 cardiovascular professionals from over 157 different countries participated in the live meeting.

One of the best features of ACC.20/WCC Virtual is that all of the content is available for 90 days after the conference for free.

Other features include:

Cardiology Magazine Image
  • 10 Clinical Pathways
  • Late Breaking Clinical Trials
  • 3,200+ E-Posters
  • 400+ Moderated Poster Sessions
  • Slides on Demand
  • 25.25 CNE Credits

Balancing busy work schedules and home life is a challenge within itself. Scheduling time off, traveling and costs can make it even more challenging to attend conferences. The virtual platform offers a way for attendees to experience the conference, networking, and educational material from the comfort of their home or office on a flexible time schedule.

It is hopeful that in the future, the ACC can provide an integrated virtual aspect together with physical meetings and conferences moving forward, which would expand access and participation on an international scale.

Cardiology Magazine Image

ACC Immediate Past President Richard J. Kovacs, MD, MACC, gave an address looking at the accomplishments of the College over the past year through leadership, advocacy and education. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to look far into the future beyond managing patients and an overwhelmed health care system during this crisis.

The College has been on the forefront to provide COVID-19 resources in order to support cardiovascular professionals and explore the impact on cardiovascular patients. They have been working diligently on grassroots actions to make government officials aware of the needs of patients and healthcare workers, such as PPE and testing availability.

Kovacs gave wonderful insight from his mother who was born during the Spanish Influenza, the last global pandemic that was running rampant just over 100 years ago in the U.S., saying that we must all "learn not only to survive, but to thrive though a combination of intelligence, healthy lifestyles and common sense."

Cardiology Magazine Image

ACC President Athena Poppas, MD, FACC, gave a welcoming address with a relevant focus on change. Now more than ever, the ACC has come together to lead the way in emerging science, clinical guidance and advocacy for health care professionals across the world.

Through a shared commitment and focus on patient care and community, the ACC will remain a strong source for improving global cardiovascular health.

Congratulations to all the staff at the ACC, physicians, and other cardiovascular professionals who came together with dedication and collaboration to produce this outstanding conference and pave the way for virtual conferences around the world.

Next year, ACC.21 is scheduled to take place on March 20 – 22 in Atlanta, GA, in hopes that we will all be able to meet again in person and virtually.

Read the quotes from ACC CV Team members who participated in ACC.20/WCC Virtual:

There is so much excellent information in the videos and all of the other content and summaries. This information allows me to have better conversations with cardiology providers as well as providers from other disciplines. It also allows me to provide improved and more in-depth education to my patients. The information contained within the online content is invaluable in practice.  
— Adam Burget, RN
The program was amazing. It was great to be able to connect with everyone at this time to share cutting edge data, network (in a different means) and have a chance to talk about our passion. I also love how people supplemented social media discussions.  
— Craig Beavers, PharmD
Participating in the ACC virtually made me much more aware and motivated to access the various materials and presentation in more detail. It can be difficult to be everywhere at the same time at such a large event, but with ACC.20/WCC Virtual, I was able to dive into multiple talks and abstracts on roughly my own timeline and from the comfort of my couch! I did miss networking and face-to-face discussions, but this experience will likely change many ACC events in the future in a very positive way.  
— Katie Bates, DNP, ARNP
Cardiology Magazine Image

This article was authored by Bailey Ann Estes, BSN, RN-BC, RNFA, CNOR, RCIS, cardiac registered nurse at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, TX.