Tech-Con Amps Up the Wow Factor Summer, 2015

July 27, 2015 by rjp2u@virginia.edu

STS News, Summer 2015 — When STS/AATS Tech-Con was introduced in 2002, its goal was to provide a platform for presenting innovative techniques, concepts, and devices for cardiothoracic surgery. In short, Tech-Con was conceived with the wow factor in mind. Fourteen years later, the Tech-Con Task Force has come up with new ways to provide the wow factor.

Beginning in 2016, Tech-Con will focus on new devices and procedures that have yet to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, but could be available (with FDA approval) within 1-3 years from the time of presentation.

“We thought that this timeframe allows industry to introduce near-ready products so that surgeons can begin to prepare,” said Tech-Con Task Force Co-Chair Shanda H. Blackmon, MD, MPH. “The advantage of this approach is that it will not overlap with what we are seeing at the main STS Annual Meeting.”

“There is no other conference that’s open to all surgeons where new, cutting-edge technologies are openly shared,” added Tech-Con Task Force Co-Chair Gorav Ailawadi, MD.

Despite the expanding focus on not-yet-released technology, Tech-Con will still feature information that attendees immediately can put into action.

“We still want the audience to go home with something they can use tomorrow in their next case,” Dr. Ailawadi said. “A part of the program will certainly still focus on techniques or devices that are available now, but are not yet adopted by all cardiothoracic surgeons.”

Proposals for presentation topics were accepted earlier this summer. For the first time, anyone involved in the field of cardiothoracic surgery—including surgeons, allied health care professionals, engineers, and industry representatives—could submit a proposal.

“Allowing industry to present will enable attendees to see more of the product than what an individual surgeon may typically be exposed to,” said Dr. Blackmon. “Sometimes, limiting the talks to what is already out there is far less than what industry really has in development. We hope to share potentially practice-changing technology that may be under development from surprising sources.”

Members of the Tech-Con Task Force are now reviewing proposals and developing the program. More information on program details will be shared in the fall 2015 issue of STS News.

“Our specialty has changed in the last several years, and we, as surgeons, need to be adaptable to change and embrace it. Tech-Con will open our eyes to what is on the horizon,” Dr. Ailawadi said.

STS/AATS Tech-Con will be held January 23-24, 2016, in conjunction with the STS 52nd Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. For more information, contact the STS Education Department at education@sts.org. Continuing medical education credit will not be offered for Tech-Con programming.

© 2014 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons