Medical meetings on a global or even European stage raise complex challenges at the best of times. When the objective of the meetings is to raise awareness of and encourage collaboration in a little-known condition across multiple countries with very different clinical approaches, the challenge is even more daunting. Finally, add the fact that the disease calls upon two specialist areas with very little cross-over knowledge and you get a sense of the mountain we had to climb. The programme we put together for our clients to achieve their objective was recognised this past July and won the 2015 Communique Award for excellence in meetings.
Non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-axSpA) is a relatively ‘new’ disease with few global experts in the field. Within the rheumatology community there is a lack of understanding of the disease and how to diagnosis it. MRI is a diagnostic tool used to support the diagnosis of nr-axSpA, but rheumatologists are not experienced at interpreting MRI and radiologists are not aware of this disease. There is a lack of training available due to the limited number of expert trainers available.
The European Imaging Working Group programme provided an intensive year-long course to train 20 European rheumatologists and radiologists to become more experienced in MRI in nr-axSpA; with the aim of over 75% of participants achieving a level that allows them to deliver MRI training programmes in their country. Participants were required to attend four face-to-face interactive meetings and complete remote learning in between the meetings. 80% of the participants achieved the criteria set out by the experts to run local meetings. The value has been irrefutably demonstrated by participants already using the toolkit and hosting 9 training meetings in 4 counties, with more planned, providing the opportunity for SpA MRI training in many regions for the first time. Read more here