The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) is always thrilled to support young researchers who are dedicated to improving treatments and patient care for the wider community. This is why THRF recently awarded Dr Rosanna Tavella from the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research (BHI) with a travel grant to attend an American Heart Association conference in the USA.

Rosanna reflected on why attending this conference was so important to not only furthering her own career, but the life-changing research she undertakes right here in Adelaide.

The American Heart Association Quality of Care and Outcomes Research conference is the world-leading event for researchers, clinicians, administrators, and healthcare policymakers who are passionate about improving the quality of care and outcomes for patients with heart disease. It is the only international meeting focused on heart issues in which clinical researchers interact in a meaningful way with policy makers and quality outcomes experts.

At this conference, I had the opportunity to present our research abstract titled “Revision of the Consent Form for Coronary Angiography Procedures”. This work has used data from the Coronary

Angiogram Database of South Australia (CADOSA) to evaluate and monitor the risk of complications from angiography procedures in SA. For the first time, we have been able to understand the safety of angiography procedures in SA. Our data shows that although angiography procedures are generally very safe, some rare but serious complications, such as procedure-related stroke, may be higher than what we expected. In conjunction with SA Health, this CADOSA data will be included in a state-wide patient risk information sheet for coronary angiography procedures, thereby improving the informed consent process. Both clinicians and patients will be provided with real world complication rates so they are best informed about the risks and benefits of the procedure. Thus, we have been able to use our research to directly improve an important aspect of care delivery in SA.

I was invited by the conference organisers to participate in the abstract sessions as a ‘Poster Professor’ whereby I evaluated five posters, and then visited each of the poster presenters during their poster sessions to discuss their research. These sessions are designed to create an engaging environment and to encourage early career investigators and students to critically evaluate their own research.

I also had the opportunity to network with our international collaborators, Prof John Spertus and Prof Paul Chan with whom we are implementing an Australian-United States data exchange between CADOSA and the CathPCI Registry.

The QCOR 2017 sessions consisted of a mix of workshops, roundtable sessions, and selected oral presentations from submitted abstracts. The nature of the meeting allows opportunities for open discussion, questions to be raised and possible solutions to problems put forward. It was enlightening to hear from speakers from prominent institutions including the National Institutes of Health, Center for Health Policy, Center for Medicare and the Food and Drug Administration.

This conference highlighted to me that the ongoing convergence of researchers’ policy makers and the outcomes experts is critical to improve patient outcomes in today’s changing healthcare environment.