The value of collaboration and participation in the Essencial Conference 2017

4 May

In the world of health, the involvement of professionals is necessary for a project to be successful and for it to reach health centres. On 21 April this year, the Conference for the implementation of the Essencial Project was held with the slogan “More is not always better: let’s avoid low value practices”.

When talking about the Essencial project, an initiative that identifies clinical practices of low value and promotes recommendations to avoid them, the collaboration between professionals becomes fundamental and even more so with reference to primary care, which is the gateway for patients to the health system.

For a conference devoted to this project, we wanted to have the active participation of health professionals and this did not seem easy in a conference where 750 attendees were expected.

How do we get them all to express themselves? How do we listen to their opinions? How do we use new technologies to meet these challenges?

Glyn Elwin, a doctor, researcher, Professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in the United States and a real authority on the subject of shared decisions attended the conference.

At a later stage, a round table was held with speakers that spoke about the implementation of the Essencial project from the perspective of the project, of organisation, of primary care teams and of patients. Provision had been made for members of the audience to make their first contributions here in a round of questions open to the floor. Thus far, no difference to what happens in other scientific conferences.

But what was special about the approach of the 2017 Essencial conference?

We wanted to innovate and do things somewhat differently. A monologue was presented showing what the day to day of a primary care outpatient consultancy might be like. With the aim of reflecting on the communication between health professionals and patients, we highlighted the importance of communicative skills when explaining to patients why it might NOT be necessary to carry out a test or receive medication.

Using Kahoot (a tool for online voting) the attendees, in real time, were able to decide on the most important recommendations to include in the Essencial project. In this way, it was possible to vote and then make known the chosen recommendations during the conference in a process in which the professionals were the protagonists.

To end it all, the Prize for the most innovative idea to avoid low value practices in primary care was awarded as part of the conference’s programme. The prize consisted of a trip to this year’s Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference to be held in Canada in August. The winner was Mariam de la Poza of the primary care centre CAP Doctor Carles Ribas in Barcelona with a contribution on the recommendation “More antibiotics is not always the best: let’s avoid side effects, unnecessary costs and antimicrobial resistance”. Excitement right to the very end!

It goes without saying that organising a conference is complex and that there are many professionals taking part who do not always appear in the programmes. An expert team in communication and events organisation is crucial for the success of a conference of this type.

Post written by the Communication’s Unit at the AQuAS.