What’s coming for cardiology in 2023?

Virtual models of care in cardiology, the long-term effects of COVID-19 on CVD, and new ways of doing clinical trials are among the topics being tipped to make waves in the specialty in 2023.

Former CSANZ president Professor Clara Chow has shared her forecast in an interview with the limbic, predicting that while the pandemic might be officially over, it won’t stop impacting cardiology any time soon.

Virtual models of care

While specialists around the country scrambled to deliver care via phone and video in the early stages of the pandemic, it hasn’t always been clear what worked and why.

But 2023 is likely to be the year the verdict comes in, with a number of studies expected to come out evaluating the telehealth revolution.

Professor Clara Chow

“I’m thinking about all those virtual models of care that have come through COVID-19 and how they will continue and/or improve the way we deliver care into the future,” Professor Chow says.

“We’ve implemented a whole lot of random stuff over these last few years, but we haven’t evaluated what we’ve done very well with all these virtual models of care. I think that’s something we will become more critical about.”

She adds that the pandemic has been a great period of experimentation “where at one point we were trying to do everything by telehealth”.

“It became quite painfully obvious that we couldn’t do that. But we should start getting some good evidence on that, which can be evaluated.”

Long-term cardiovascular effects of COVID-19

More and better data is also likely to begin flowing on the long-term effects of COVID-19, particularly on cardiovascular and chronic health conditions, Professor Chow says.

“I think finally we will have some more data to better understand that,” she says.

“While it may seem gone in acute form, the question remains around what the tail effect is going to be.”

“Will it tail to nothing or continue on as a chronic health condition into the future.”

Changing expectations of clinical trials

A third area of change is likely to be around the design of clinical trials and the evaluation of new technology, according to the University of Sydney academic.

She says this is also an outcome of the COVID-19, when researchers were forced to adapt to meet the constraints of the pandemic.

The result has been a renewed focus on being adaptable and embracing new technology: “being a bit smarter and more efficient”, Professor Chow says.

“In the last ACC meeting there were some really smart trial designs being shared, that were really efficient,” she says.

“New data sets were being used to look at outcomes, there were electronic means to recruit patients and it meant trials could be done quickly and at lower costs, so it will be very interesting to see some of those published.”

She adds: “It was like a survival skill that came out of the pandemic. If you wanted to run a trial through COVID-19, you had to do it differently.”

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