AO Davos Courses 2018 highlights
In 2018 the AO's flagship educational event, the AO Davos Courses, welcomed over 1,500 participants from 87 countries. They came from all over the world to learn from leading experts. In 2018, 20 courses were offered in the fields of trauma, spine, CMF, veterinary, and reconstructive surgery.
For the AO Davos Courses, 2018 was a year of change and innovation, but it was also a time to reflect on the first 60 years of the AO's history. One highlight of the the AO Davos Courses 2018 was the 60th anniversary celebration.
To mark the AO's 60th anniversary, Jean-Pierre Jeannet, Professor Emeritus of Global Strategy and Marketing at IMD Switzerland presented his new book, based on archives and interviews. In it, he identifies the "winning formula" that the AO built, and describes its founders as "social entrepreneurs".
In a similar spirit, Klaus Eichler, Head of Health Services Research at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, looked at the health economic impact the AO has had since its founding. This report evaluates the impact of the AO's osteosynthesis approach compared to conservative fracture treatment for three index bones over 60 years in 17 high-income countries. The findings are impressive: 855bn saved in direct and indirect costs for the working age population, and 73 million life years gained in the population over 70 years of age.
An independent study on the AO's local and regional impact was published to mark this milestone. Produced by a team of respected academics and researchers from the Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance at the University of St. Gallen, it examines the AO's tangible and intangible impact on the Swiss city of Davos and the Canton of Grisons for the period 1958-2018.
Also marking this anniversary, a groundbreaking report by the Economist Intelligence Unit on the ongoing vital need for AO approaches in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) was published, and a landmark agreement was signed with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Responding to changing needs
AO CMF broke new ground this year, with its inaugural AO CMF ON AIR broadcast. This brought the high-quality educational discussion that is synonymous with the AO to hundreds of people who joined the live session online. Broadcast right from the heart of Davos, 100 people took part in person at the AO Davos Courses 2018 and over 200 more joined online from around the world to discuss clinical cases.
The development and roll-out of the Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS) courses during the AO Davos Courses 2018 were key achievements for AO Spine. The initial offering of 24 spaces per course had to be expanded to 36 in response to overwhelming demand. A needs assessment carried out in 2017 showed that MISS hit the sweet spot for the AO Spine community, surgeons in this field, and our industry partner DePuySynthes, a Johnson & Johnson company. MISS will continue in 2019 and AO Spine is set to expand it by adding new tools and techniques, and by taking it to the regions.
The first AO Technical Commission Meet the Experts session focused on Advances in Femoral Nailing and was led by Paulo Barbosa and Christopher Finkemeier. The audience space was filled to capacity and participants looked on avidly as these two outstanding experts in their field led them through the subject.
Another crowd-pleasing AO Technical Commission Meet the Experts session saw Karl Stoffel and Christoph Sommer explore the Femoral Neck System (FNS)—A New Technique for Minimally Invasive Fixation of Femoral Neck Fractures. Once again, the interest level from participants in the AO Davos Courses was extremely high.
AO Recon delivered a successful course on Complex Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty and organized a course on comprehensive periprosthetic fracture management together with AO Trauma, which received the highest faculty and second highest discussion and workshop content evaluation scores of all courses offered during the AO Davos Courses 2018. The new AO Recon Skills Lab on hip and knee replacement was brought to an audience of over 400 registrants through a webcast organized during the AO Davos Courses 2018.
The AO Davos Courses 2018 saw the first-ever winners receive the AO Trauma Innovation in Education award. "Innovation has always been part of the AO," said AO Trauma Global Education Manager Michael Redies. Of the 19 submissions, first prize went to Klaus Dresing and his VirtX team. Their virtual-reality simulator for teaching radiation hazards prevention" will make future education possible without X-rays and will significantly help reduce cancer risks for surgeons.
Developing new materials
The AO Education Institute and AO Trauma launched two new much-needed books during the AO Davos Courses 2018: one on fragility fracture treatment Osteoporotic Fracture Care—Medical and Surgical Management by the editors Michael Blauth, Stephen L Kates, and Joseph A Nicholas; and Manual of Fracture Management—Wrist by editors and experienced AO Trauma faculty Jesse Jupiter, Douglas Campbell, and Fiesky Nunez.
A new approach
AO Invest's Pitch and Preach event, held at the Hard Rock Hotel in Davos, was another stand-out feature of the AO Davos Courses 2018. Over 100 people gathered in the chapel venue to hear six promising entrepreneurs pitch their ventures to an expert jury. Four of the start-ups work in digital health and two are in the medical technology sector. Medbelle, a company seeking to revolutionize the way patients interact with the health care system by digitizing the entire patient journey, took first place.