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EHRA Summit 2008

Network within the EHRA community

The second edition of the EHRA Summit was held at the European Heart House in Sophia Antipolis, France on April 21st and 22nd, 2008.

The EHRA Summit is a yearly event of utmost importance, where representatives of the National Societies and Working Groups in Electrophysiology of the ESC member countries may actively participate in the life of EHRA and provide feedback which is crucial for the Board to decide the future direction of our Association.

This year the focus was mainly on Guidelines implementation, but also on Accreditation and Education in Europe.

The need for standardized education and accreditation processes in Europe was pointed out by all national representatives. Some of the national representatives have addressed the status of Accreditation programme in the member countries. The heterogeneity in Europe is striking: while some countries have a fully developed Accreditation process, others are at the early beginning of their experience or even do not have any Accreditation programme at all. Obviously this has been identified as a problem and a potential barrier for clinical electrophysiology to move between countries.

Prof. Heikki Huikurri, president of UEMS (European Union of Medical Specialists) highlighted the need for the non-governmental medical organization in Europe to establish stronger collaboration with the European Union in order to better promote education and physician mobility. This concept was further underlined by Prof. Peter Mills, chairman of the EBSC (European Board for the Specialty Cardiology). Having recognized that education and training must occur locally, a major effort was requested to be put in the development of approved educational material and European training logbooks as well as in homogeneous European Cardiology Core Curriculum. As a first step in this direction the EHRA Board has decided that all the EHRA educational courses will be submitted to obtain the EBAC (European Board for Accreditation in Cardiology) accreditation. In a near future all EHRA officially endorsed meetings will also be required to obtain EBAC accreditation.

Prof. Carina Blomstrom-Lunqvist presented the novel EHRA Educational Projects which involve both basic science and clinical electrophysiology training session. The EHRA Education Committee is developing a long term project integrating several different tools: courses for Accreditation, workshops, web-based educational activities (slides, guidelines, clinical cases). Novel initiatives such as “EHRA meet the expert” are going to be defined and organized in the future months.

The EHRA Summit 2008 also focused on the establishment of homogeneous guidelines for pacemaker and ICD registries. Dr. Proclemer highlighted the need for improved accuracy in data collection, the lack of active supranational networking and difficulties of recruitment of national survey coordinators. A further presentation from Dr. Vahanian, chairman of the ESC (European Society of Cardiology) Guidelines Committee, outlined the ESC strategies for guidelines implementation and elicited an active discussion.

Finally Dr C Wolpert, chair of the National Societies Committee, addressed the newly launched initiative of EHRA White Book Project initiative (see our separate specific article on this topic).

Overall this edition of the EHRA summit achieved a greater success than expected. 60 national representatives coming from 32 countries and the EHRA board and Committee members had the chance for an active discussion. Positive feedback from participants has been collected at the end of the Summit.

As clearly pointed out by Josep Brugada, EHRA president, the Association is seeking for active involvement of all member states. EHRA needs the support and the participation of people willing to cooperate and build a common and shared community of physicians involved in cardiac electrophysiology.