2020 STS Conference Recap


Marketing Manager

2020 STS-Advances in Quality & Outcomes- A Data Managers Meeting Conference Recap

Due to the many challenges presented by COVID-19, 2020 has been a year of change and innovation. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons rose to the occasion by presenting the annual Advances in Quality & Outcomes (AQO) conference on an entirely virtual platform. 

Held Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, 2020, over 2500 surgeon leaders and data managers, and quality experts worldwide came together virtually to present their research, discuss challenges, ask questions, and share solutions to common concerns. All with the goal of improving data collection and patient outcomes.

Participants joined the conference via a web platform. The website was well organized and easy to navigate. Both on-demand and live sessions were available on a wide range of relevant topics. A chat feature allowed everyone to ask questions and vote to prioritize which questions would be answered during the live sessions. There were even social events to help everyone connect including a “Rise and Shine” yoga session and a Trivia Challenge.

Dr. Felix Fernandez provided an update on the STS National Database Platform that now includes

  • a 24/7 cloud-based platform that allows for continuous data harvest and data clean up.
  • Interactive Dashboard Reporting for case-level drill down and real-time data access.
  • User-Friendly Data Quality Reports with case-level drill down
  • Option for Web-Based Data entry at no additional cost that allows for data clean up with each case entry.

New this year, the winners of the annual poster contest gave a virtual presentation of their research during the breaks between live sessions.

The Adult Cardiac Registry featured great live and on-demand sessions. A few are highlighted below.

  • The Aorta, Aortic Arch, and Aortic Valve with associated surgeries were featured in both live and on-demand sessions this year. A live session was presented by Dr. Karen Kim, Dr. Nimesh Desai, and Nancy Honeycutt to review coding of these procedures in the Aortic section of the registry. An on-demand session was provided by Dr. Karen Kim and gave an in-depth anatomical review of the Aortic Valve, Aortic Root & Arch procedures.
  • Dr. Vinay Badhwar, explained the Maze procedure, the overall cardiac anatomy related to AFIB, and how to code these elements in the AFIB section of the registry. 
  • Dr. Glenn Whitman and Melinda Offer presented a very informative interactive case scenario summarizing how to capture a deteriorating patient accurately in the registry.
  • Dr. Vinay Badhwar reviewed coding of Mitral Valve procedures and provided a live video of procedures to illustrate his teachings.

The General Thoracic Database (GTDB) announced the release of Version 5.21 has been postponed until July 1, 2021. Although the new Data Specifications and DCF are not yet available, the following Enhancements were shared.

  • Grading of complications will be required for both Lung CA and Esophageal CA cases
  • Grading will be based on Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE)
  • New Lung Cancer Pathologic Staging Fields
  • 5 year follow up will no longer be required in Version 5.21. At the time of the Version 5.21 upgrade, 5 year follow up will no longer be required of patient cases coded in previous versions.

This was truly the best AQO yet! Thank you to the planners, speakers, programmers, exhibitors, and everyone who made this virtual experience possible.