It’s good to be home. This is what my body said out loud, when I sighed a long and full breath after crawling into my own bed the other day. Nothing beats your own bed after spending a bunch of nights sleeping elsewhere.
I braved the European beds – not exactly known for their comfort – to attend two conferences this month in Paris, Doctors 2.0 and EULAR. At these back-to-back medical conferences, I was a part of many, many exciting conversations with experts, thought leaders and doctors who are leading the charge in improving the way we treat our chronic conditions.
It started with Doctors 2.0 – a gathering of about 400 medical professionals, patient advocates, and technologists at the Cite Universite in south Paris. This two-day conference looked at the many exciting ways that technology, social media and other innovations are being integrated into patient care. It was an honor to represent CreakyJoints in my panel discussion about the role of the ePatient in clinical research. The reception by the conference organizers was very positive, and the networking among like-minded, forward-thinking medical experts was inspiring! (If you want to see what we discussed, go to Twitter and search for #Doctors20)
After the inspiration from the many ways that technology can make us feel better, we had a chance to jump into the deep end of rheumatology care at the annual European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR), which is the second largest international congress about arthritis (the first being the American College of Rheumatology, which occurs every fall). This gathering of more than 15,000 experts – from all around the world – gave us plenty to talk about!
Heading into EULAR
Dr. Ben, our Director of Patient-Centered Research, and I tackled the five day congress with our heads held high (at the start of most days, and with less than perfect posture at the end of long days). We attended sessions about the best practices of patient care, we met doctors from many different countries to get their perspectives and advice, and we shared our ideas for how technology can bring us closer to better access-to-care, and hopefully one day, a cure.
What makes EULAR (and ACR, and other smaller, regional meetings) so special is that it is truly the gathering point of many different ideas, experiences, hypotheses, and research findings under one roof. They’re all carefully organized (from 6 AM until the wee hours) within lectures, poster presentations, podium presentations, symposia, a pair of exhibit halls and then, the most valuable of all, random bump-into-old-friends-in-the-stairwell impromptu meetings.
We had a Tweet-up + Meet-up of doctors from around the world, which was great fun for us to meet with one another, say hello, high-five one another, and then Tweet out the many pictures of our gathering.
Dr. Antoni Chan of the UK smiles while Dr. Carlo Caballero from Columbia holds up his new CreakyJoints swag-bag
Much more about EULAR and the developments impacting us patients can be found on Medscape: http://www.medscape.com/viewcollection/33147 , and for the curious, another search on Twitter using #EULAR2014 (and #EULAR14) will provide more insight than you can handle in one sitting.
The take away from these two meetings is that our future is very bright! Rheumatology care has come so far in the 15 years since CreakyJoints was born (out of a dorm room bunk bed…which is still more comfortable than a European 3 star hotel bed, but who’s counting). The science and the medicine are finally converging, at the intersection of technology and communication.
This means that the result is that we can feel better, quicker, thanks to meetings like Doctors 2.0 and EULAR.