Verified vascular! Quality care in vascular disease

Matthew Eagleton

The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and American College of Surgeons (ACS) Vascular Verification Program (Vascular-VP) will be a central focus on the opening day of the 2024 Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) as the topic of the E. Stanley Crawford Critical Issues Forum.

The Crawford Forum, traditionally put together by the SVS president-elect, drills into the existential issues facing vascular surgery, with quality in vascular care being an ever-increasing priority for the SVS. This year’s incoming President Matthew Eagleton, MD, has assembled an experienced cast of speakers under the moniker: Quality Care Everywhere. Following a short introduction from Eagleton, Clifford Y. Ko, MD, the director of the Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care at the ACS, will open the session with an overview of the ACS’ quality initiative, quality campaign, and its collaborations with specialty organizations.

Anton N. Sidawy, MD, a former SVS president and one of the driving forces behind the Vascular- VP, will then outline how the vascular-specific quality program came about. Sidawy will be followed by R. Clement Darling III, MD, another former SVS president, who is set to showcase the inpatient side of the Vascular-VP. William P. Shutze, MD, SVS secretary, will run down the workings of the outpatient version of the program.

Darling’s institution, the Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, was among the first cohort of centers to gain both inpatient and outpatient Vascular- VP status. Shutze’s center, Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital in Plano, Texas, was among the first tranche of hospitals verified on the inpatient side.

The Crawford Forum will be rounded out with a subjective analysis of how the Vascular-VP impacts practice from Dennis Gable, MD, from Texas Vascular Associates, which operates in both Dallas and Plano, a Dallas suburb. Gable will present, “Personal experience and the ‘value add’ to a vascular surgery practice and service line from the Vascular-VP,” before the session is opened up to audience participation.

The VAM 2024 program—which will see Joseph L. Mills, MD, deliver his presidential address on Friday morning—is stacked with top-tier education content that is both clinical and non-clinical across four days. The conference received record-breaking submission numbers when it came to abstracts and education sessions, causing great excitement amongst the VAM Program Committee and Postgraduate Education Committee (PGEC) as they organized this year’s agenda.

“There will be 26 education sessions across the first three days of the meeting,” said William Robinson, MD, chair of the PGEC. “We were excited to see a record-breaking 90 proposals submitted for VAM 2024 education sessions. These were submitted last autumn and initiated a process of session selection and development, which continued through this spring. Our committee is very excited about the 2024 education program, which is both cutting-edge and as comprehensive as possible.”

Robinson expressed his excitement over the breadth and depth of content and the expanding faculty for the 2024 meeting. “We have 188 expert faculty in the education program; we placed an emphasis on representing the broad SVS membership when choosing faculty members,” he said.

“As for the sessions, multiple will be interactive with the audience, and some have already solicited case submissions from attendees to feature in the sessions to help drive the discussion. I think these cases and the utilization of interactive formats will bring a variety of unique perspectives to the meeting and hopefully make the audience feel more engaged.”

Robinson is wrapping up his final year as chair of the PGEC at VAM, having been on the committee since 2016. His tenure on the PGEC draws to a close alongside SVS Program Committee Chair Andres Schanzer, MD, who expressed similar enthusiasm to Robinson when it came to VAM 2024 programming.

“This was an exciting year to be a part of the Program Committee, and not just from the scientific session standpoint,” he said.

“With the debut of the inaugural SVS Keynote Speaker Series, SVS Connect@VAM taking place at Soldier Field, and the many increased opportunities to network with colleagues, friends and industry, I am more excited for this year’s SVS VAM than any other we have had in the past.”

Between the plenary, How I Do It video, and Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Society (VESS) sessions, alongside international and poster presentations, more than 50% of the abstract submissions were accepted for VAM 2024, according to Schanzer. Then, of course, will come Mills’ presidential swansong, followed on Friday night by the annual Gala. Schanzer and Robinson both worked with VAM 2024 faculty, the SVS Young Surgeons Section (YSS) and SVS staff to increase promotion of high-impact work that was done by investigators to get more people interested in what the conference is offering.

For the third year in a row, YSS volunteers worked with the chairs to develop the visual VAM campaign, which hosts visual representations of abstracts and invited sessions that will debut at VAM 2024. Weekly videos were posted across SVS social media accounts to give viewers a quick glimpse into clinical education that will be covered at the meeting. “It has been great to see SVS members and other vascular surgery community members interact with the content on social media,” said Schanzer, “I only hope that this is half of the excitement that we are going to see from the attendees at VAM.”

With the meeting set for record-breaking attendance numbers, a larger focus on networking and togetherness, an expanded number of educational sessions with innovative formats, and a broadening of the VAM travel scholarship program, to name a few, Robinson and Schanzer have set a high bar for VAM going forward.

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