The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) annual meeting, one of the largest and most anticipated anesthesiology events in the world, took place in San Francisco October 13 to 18, 2023. Boasting thousands of attendees from over a hundred countries, this prestigious event gathered an array of healthcare professionals and researchers, providing a platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and innovation.
The ASA's annual meeting, a cornerstone in the field of anesthesiology, has been a vital fixture in the calendar for healthcare professionals for years. The event offers a multitude of benefits to attendees (Counting Down to ASA 2023, Oct 4, 2023), ranging from a chance to stay up to date with the latest advancements to opportunities for academic collaboration. It has offerings for anyone, from medical students to highly accomplished clinicians, with both in-person and virtual attendance options (COVID Is Officially “Over”, June 2023).
**Staying Current with Knowledge and Advancements in the World of Anesthesia**
One of the primary reasons for healthcare professionals to attend the ASA annual meeting is the opportunity to stay current with the ever-evolving field of anesthesiology. This robust branch of medicine has seen dramatic changes over the last few years and continues to elevate patient safety and innovation above anything else.
The meeting showcased a wide range of presentations and discussions, covering topics such as anesthetic mechanisms, analgesic interventions, hemodynamic monitoring, AI and machine learning, predictive analytics, regenerative medicine, diversity in the workplace, and patient safety. It offered an exclusive opportunity to engage with experts, ask questions, and gain insights that would directly impact patient care and provider experiences.
**Networking and Collaboration**
Beyond knowledge acquisition, the ASA annual meeting is an exceptional networking hub, providing attendees with a platform to meet like-minded professionals, share experiences, and foster collaborations. The event's various sessions, workshops, and social gatherings were designed to facilitate interaction among attendees. Researchers had the opportunity to meet potential collaborators, while medical students and residents could interact with mentors and explore research and career opportunities.
For academics and researchers, the ASA annual meeting serves as a catalyst for excellence in the field. It provides a unique space for presenting research findings, engaging in peer discussions, and garnering feedback from experts. This year's meeting featured numerous research presentations, from clinical trials exploring anesthetic agents and their effects to studies on improving patient outcomes and safety during and after surgery (Intraoperative hypotension). These findings contributed to the collective knowledge of the field and encouraged attendees to explore new avenues for education and research.
**What the future holds**
The ASA meeting also serves as a platform for the unveiling of cutting-edge technologies and innovations. Attendees had the chance to explore the latest equipment and tools in the exhibit hall, where industry leaders showcased their advancements in anesthesiology. From improved monitoring devices to state-of-the-art anesthesia machines, the exhibit hall was a glimpse into the future of patient care. The meeting also brought to the forefront opinions of thought leaders in the field, whether to warn of potential pitfalls, anticipate future successes, or promote practice-changing solutions to current difficulties.
**A Personal Experience**
Like many other attendees, I looked at the program for the meeting and immediately noted the impossibility of attending every session that interested me. My calendar was the running joke among my colleagues as I had bookmarked not one, or a dozen, or three dozen sessions, but an over-ambitious collection of 97 entries between Friday evening and Tuesday morning, up to 10 sessions starting at the same time! And if that weren’t enough, I managed to plug in a few (dozen) meetings and rushed from one exhibitor booth to the next during the rare breaks in between sessions. And last but not least, coming from an active academic practice, our group had several abstracts sprinkled over a 3-day period and those deserved to be celebrated as well: (posts from LinkedIn: #ANES23 poster sessions: Preparing for Surgery: What More Do Patients Desire?, #ANES23 poster sessions: Unveiling the Patient Perspective: Redefining Postoperative Pain Management for Optimal Recovery, and #ANES23 poster sessions: Redefining the Criteria of Success for Joint Surgery). One piece of advice, if you plan on doing something similar next year, bring comfortable shoes to last you through the 20,000+ steps you’ll be taking every day (true story).
Dr. Saasouh has no conflicts of interest to report.
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