The inaugural HPE LIVE Congress has come and gone, leaving everyone wanting more.
For time-poor healthcare professionals, value takes on a heightened sense of importance, and this forum specifically addressed that need. Called upon to take not more than one day away from their overloaded schedules, delegates worked to the maximum their opportunities to exchange, refresh, renew and learn. Theory is for books. What delegates needed on the day is what they got: time-saving, distilled practical tips from those professionals with the art of condensing a lifetime of experience into 30-minute presentations.
With four streams of buzzing presentations, workshops and panel discussions, plus a pulsating exhibition hall, delegates were spoilt for choice as to where to meet, interact with and learn from their fellow healthcare professionals. Focusing on what truly matters, speakers were drawn from the top drawer of European hospital pharmacists, and sustained the meeting momentum right to the close of play.
Delegates had hard choices to make – whether to listen to expert opinion on topics of safety and affordability, or to attend informal, interactive workshops on matters ranging from risk management in the use of contrast media to a guide to a better understanding of professional standards in hospital pharmacy. And for good measure, no-one wanted to miss out on the panel discussions that focussed on the all-important hospital/community interface: medicines reconciliation, delivering better health outcomes, safety through medicines management and the care of vulnerable patients – one tweet read ‘really positive that a hospital pharmacy event has so many community pharmacy topics and speakers’.
For some, the highlight was the keynote address by Professor Arthur Lipman on the contribution that pharmacists can make in effective pain management – his stated aim of convincing some in the audience to develop a career in this specialty will not have fallen on deaf ears. For others, it may have been Linda Murdoch’s take-no-hostages approach to change management in the introduction of ‘smart pumps’ to improve patient safety – ‘I lecture at a lot of conferences, and I have not enjoyed a conference as much as this one for … so long I can’t remember!’. Or perhaps others preferred Philip Howard’s unique insight into the practicalities of antimicrobial stewardship and the pitfalls of target-led antimicrobial prescribing. Closing the day with Rachel Elliott’s analysis of cost effectiveness studies in hospital pharmacy will have put the icing on the cake for many. And then there was always the exhibition hall to meet, network and do business.
A conference structure that offered choice throughout the day left delegates truly charged with a sense of ownership of what they came away with. For many, it was a sense of regret that they had to wait a whole year before getting to do it all over again.
In the words of one attendee who has lapped the international and local meeting circuit a few times, ‘this was by far the most interesting and best organised conference I have been to’.