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Interview with Prof. Panos Vardas, Prof. Harry Crijns and Prof. Gerhard Hindricks on the added value of the innovative DAS-CAM programme

Innovative course launched for future arrhythmias leaders

An innovative course for future arrhythmias leaders is set to be launched in January 2017. The Diploma of Advanced Studies in Cardiac Arrhythmia Management (DAS-CAM) is a joint collaboration between the European Heart Academy (EHA), the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) and Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+).

“One of the key needs identified by the European Society of Cardiology is the training of future leaders in arrhythmia management and research with a wide view of the societal and economical perspectives,” says Professor Panos Vardas, Managing Chair of the European Heart Agency, where the European Heart Academy is housed and is chaired by Professor Alec Vahanian.

A high end arrhythmia leadership course

The executive programme is unique in its content and teaching style. Participants will be updated on cardiac arrhythmology, from mechanisms and ECG reading to novel and complex interventions. The regulatory and societal dimensions of arrhythmia management will be discussed, as well as cardiovascular biostatistics, health economics, workflow, leadership and communication skills, and team building.

A problem based learning approach will be used which allows participants to tailor the course to their interests and skills, and the situation in their institution and country.

Professor Harry Crijns, Chair of Cardiology at Maastricht University Medical Centre says the course will equip future leaders to operate in the new era of value based healthcare. “We used to accept new therapies because they were shown to be scientifically valid in a clinical trial but today that’s not enough,” says Professor Crijns. “Graduates of DAS-CAM will understand how value based healthcare includes scientific evidence, health economics, organisational excellence, and value to patients.”

DAS-CAM contains eight modules that are spread over two years. Each module includes four days of on-site training in Maastricht or Brussels with lectures from European experts and group work in which students present difficult cases. There is also self study, online education, and projects. Participants will write reports on topics such as the value of screening for arrhythmias and how to involve healthcare payers and society in adopting this approach.

The programme is Bologna compliant and graduates will receive a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Cardiac Arrhythmia Management from Maastricht University.

Training future leaders in arrhythmias

“DAS-CAM goes far beyond a traditional arrhythmia course and we would like to attract the best candidates in Europe whose goal is to become a leader in arrhythmia research and clinics,” says Professor Gerhard Hindricks, President of the European Heart Rhythm Association.

The course is looking for around 30 clinical cardiac electrophysiologists who want to take on the broader tasks of managing a clinical department, stipulating the direction of research, and interacting with hospital management, healthcare payers, industry, and patient groups.

Professor Hindricks envisages that applicants will be between 30 and 40 years old, but the course is not restricted to any particular age group. What is certain is that students aspire to becoming a leader in the field of arrhythmias. That could translate into being director of an institute or clinic with competence in arrhythmias, being involved in regulatory assessment and evaluation bodies, or fulfilling advisory roles in national or international organisations.

Professor Hindricks says: “DAS-CAM fills a gap in the education portfolio. Physicians need to be involved in deciding how to deliver healthcare value from every Euro we invest. This course will give electrophysiologists the competence to have those discussions and secure high quality care for patients with arrhythmias.”