The Asia Pacific Consortium on Osteoporosis (APCO) Virtual General Body Meeting and Congress was held on Saturday, February 19, 2022 between 2:30 – 7:00 pm SG time.
Attended by APCO’s members representing 20 countries and regions in the Asia Pacific – from New Zealand in the south, to China in the north, and Pakistan in the west, to Japan in the east – the meeting was an opportunity for the members, all highly respected thought leaders in the field of musculoskeletal health, to come together to mark the consortium’s third year in existence, to virtually reunite with each other, and to brainstorm and exchange ideas to further APCO’s vision of reducing the burden of osteoporosis and fragility fractures in the region.
Co-Founder and Board Member of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), and Chair of its Committee of National Societies (CNS), Professor Jean-Yves Reginster, Liège, Belgium, as well as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the IOF and APCO EXCO member, Dr. Philippe Halbout, Nyon, Switzerland, participated in the meeting and congress.
Multiple topics were covered by a variety of speakers in a jam-packed agenda spanning four-and-a-half hours.
APCO Executive Committee Chair, Director of the Osteoporosis and Bone Metabolism Unit at Singapore General Hospital, and Congress organiser, Prof Manju Chandran, opened the meeting by warmly welcoming APCO members, providing an overview of the agenda and an introduction to the various presenters.
Prof Reginster delivered a compelling keynote lecture on ‘Driving policy change to improve the musculoskeletal health of diverse populations’. He explained how to optimally engage policy makers, reflecting on the various tools and initiatives that the IOF employs to reach this pivotal stakeholder group, including the IOF Global Patient Charter, the development of regional audits and thematic reports, the Capture the Fracture® partnership, the new IOF University Network, and hosting global awareness days such as ‘World Osteoporosis Day’.
Dr. Halbout provided an illuminating presentation on the ‘Prioritisation of bone health – the key steps for driving policy change’. He outlined the following seven key steps for driving policy change:
- Identifying the right contacts;
- Accounting for the policy agenda;
- Having a comprehensive understanding of the local context;
- Creating optimal synergy between organisations;
- Positioning osteoporosis as a chronic disease for prioritisation on the national health agenda;
- Developing a series of impactful, evidence-based key messages; and
- Disseminating and implementing harmonised osteoporosis management guidelines.
The APCO General Business component of the meeting, chaired by APCO Executive Committee Chairperson, Prof Chandran and presented by EXCO members, Dr Greg Lyubomirsky (CEO, Healthy Bones Australia), Dr Cae Tolman (Hong Kong) and APCO Project Management and Financial representative, Ms Christina Pasquariello (Australia), focused on APCO’s achievements in its three short years of existence, from when the idea for its formation was first mooted in the late fall of 2018, and its subsequent launch in May 2019, through a tumultuous two-and-a-half years marked for a major part, by the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting then proceeded to discuss the complementary top-down and bottom-up approaches APCO is taking to disseminate and implement its landmark Framework of Osteoporosis Standards of Care, and the ambitious projects it is considering pursuing in the next two years. Prof Chandran also specially highlighted the contributions of partner agencies, such as VIVA! Communications and Evidencia Group, who play an integral part in maintaining APCO’s social media platforms, and have helped with developing its educational tool kit and pathfinder audit templates.
The business meeting was enlivened by the many insightful comments and questions by the attendees that illustrated the vast, collective health care experiences and knowledge that the APCO members bring to the organisation.
Founder and MD of In Vivo Communications and In Vivo Academy, Lisa Sullivan, Australia, presented on Quality Improvement (QI) in healthcare, describing frameworks that aim to systematically improve the delivery of patient care, and various processes that can be measured, analysed, improved and controlled.
Director of Evidencia Medical Communications, Dr. Yoonah Choi, Australia, introduced the multitude of components comprising the soon to be launched APCO Pathfinder Audit Kit, and the reasons for conducting a Pathfinder Audit – to determine the current state of osteoporosis care for any subgroup; to benchmark the care gap against the APCO Clinical Standards; and to develop recommendations for policy and funding allocations to effectively address the care gap. She concluded by urging all APCO members to volunteer to trial a Pathfinder Audit in their respective clinical settings.
One of the highlights of the meeting was the unique Co-Creation workshop specially commissioned by APCO and facilitated by ACCESS Health International – a global non-profit think tank, advisory group and knowledge and implementation partner. In this interactive and exciting workshop, APCO members were split into five groups to both explore, and define via virtual jam boards, potential project opportunities for APCO for 2002 and beyond, ranging from collaborating with external partners to develop digital health care provider learning systems in osteoporosis to help establish virtual communities of good practices, to developing policy shaping tools, implementing QI projects, designing unique digital patient education platforms, and implementing cost effectiveness analyses research in the Asia Pacific region. This highly productive and stimulating workshop saw all members actively contributing to the discussion.
Dr. Chandran closed the meeting, reflecting on the tremendous efforts of the Project Management Team in preparing for, and coordinating the APCO General Body meeting and Congress. She further extended her gratitude to all APCO members for their invaluable, ongoing commitment to developing tangible solutions to the substantive challenges involving osteoporosis management and fracture prevention in the Asia Pacific, the most populated and fastest growing region of the world.
Watch Prof Chandran’s citations of Prof Reginster and Dr Halbout and their lectures below.