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As pandemic drags on, ASHE and NAHQ conferences go virtual


August 4, 2020

By Jay Kumar

More than four months into the COVID-19 lockdown, we’re seeing some states gradually open up and others frantically put restrictions back in place because of new surges in coronavirus cases. Meanwhile, healthcare conferences of all kinds have been cancelled or postponed, or in some cases, turned into virtual events. The National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) is going with the latter option, with plans to hold its first virtual conference in September.

NAHQ Next 2020 is scheduled for September 14-16, featuring speakers from quality or leadership positions at healthcare organizations including Cedars-Sinai, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Lifespan, and SSM Health. Initial plans were to have the conference take place in Indianapolis.

“NAHQ has been working to reduce variability in healthcare quality competencies, and the COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the shortcomings of working on-the-fly at a local level to solve national and global healthcare quality issues. NAHQ is convening leaders at NAHQ NEXT to focus on the healthcare quality imperatives in a post-COVID-19 environment and to discuss the requirements to prepare the workforce to become more high-functioning in the future,” said NAHQ CEO and Executive Director Stephanie Mercado, CAE, in a release. “Before the pandemic, healthcare waste was estimated to be upwards of $900 billion annually and was the third leading cause of death. The pandemic was the crisis that shined a bright light on existing challenges, and NAHQ’s competency framework will be a foundational solution to addressing these issues in the long term.”

As part of World Patient Safety Day on Sept. 17, NAHQ Next will include a collaboration with the Patient Safety Movement Foundation (PSMF), which will provide content for the final day of the conference and continuing medical education credit for select sessions (pending approval).

Similarly, the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) had planned to hold its annual conference and technical exhibition in Chicago next month, but has converted the event into a virtual conference that will run from Oct. 5-7. The conference will include a keynote speaker, presentations, breakouts, interactive chatrooms, and an online exhibit hall. Attendees will have on-demand access to the presentations through Dec. 31.

Networking opportunities will be available via the ASHE Lounge, where attendees can chat publicly with other attendees and sponsors. The chat will show the profiles of everyone in the lounge; attendees can click on profiles and send an email, request a private chat, or send them a virtual business card.

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