This year, the 4th annual HEART iN DIABETES (HiD) conference went virtual, with attendees from around the world joining from home offices, lounges and any other room that now doubles as a working space. The conference took Zoom calls to new heights, with a virtual lobby complete with a lecture, poster and exhibition hall. With keynote speakers from cardiology and endocrinology disciplines, HiD offered a comprehensive collection of talks and poster presentations on key topics such as cardiometabolic complications in COVID-19 patients, preventing and managing heart failure, and advancements in technology and digital health.
Over 1,800 people from more than 75 countries attended the online conference, engaging in interactive Q&A sessions and listening to thought-provoking discussions.
As the most pressing medical topic in the world right now, the first talk of the conference surrounded COVID-19 in diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. Dr Christos Mantzoros and Dr Mansoor Husian presented a number of brand new studies looking at risk factors in COVID-19 patients with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVD). It has been recorded that patients at the highest risk of COVID-19 complications are those with cardiometabolic comorbidities. Whilst there is no relation with acquiring the disease, 1 in 3 COVID-19 patients who died in the UK had diabetes. Other points of interest included a fascinating talk by Dr Laurence S. Sperling on the opportunities that COVID-19 has provided, such as highlighting the need for improved prevention programmes, improved use of telemedicine and telehealth, and developments in precision public health.
As well as a range of fantastic talks, taking the conference virtual did not mean that attendees missed out on exhibits and poster presentations. The virtual exhibition hall featured a number of regular faces in pharmaceuticals, who hosted a range of resources including videos highlighting clinical trial results and interactive maps displaying patterns of CVD patients. Traditionally, conferences are of course known to bring people together to allow for meeting old colleagues and creating new connections, and whilst we can not currently do this, all of the virtual exhibitions provided contact information for each company's representatives so that we don’t miss out on the new discussions and opportunities that conferences provide. As well as this, the poster hall boasted a collection of over 50 posters covering a range of topics on CVD and diabetes management.
Another great talk by Dr Irving K. Loh, Dr George Grunberger and Dr Michael P. Snyder explored new and upcoming developments in telemedicine and digital health in relation to diabetes and CVD. We now live in a world where data collection has become so vast that as humans we cannot analyse the mass amount of data we acquire, causing data overload. This is where artificial intelligence and healthcare data can come together to help transform extremely diverse sets of data into information that can actually be used. Along with artificial intelligence, new developments in machine learning can train systems to improve with experience. When applied to cardiology, artificial intelligence and machine learning could be used in predictive analytics and modeling, such as to determine those at risk of heart failure. In diabetes, these tools can be used to support the diagnosis of retinopathy and identifying diabetics with the highest risk of avoidable complications.
As a media partner for the 2020 HEART iN DIABETES conference, we were delighted that despite the difficult challenges that COVID-19 has posed around the world, collaboration between researchers and industry experts was still possible, facilitating the sharing of important research on cardiology and diabetes.
This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). The illustration is by Hindawi and is also CC-BY. Screenshots where taken by Abada Begum during the event.