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As orthopaedic surgeons, we used to travel a lot. A glance at the conference and meetings calendar showed weekly opportunities for continuous medical education. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all this from one moment to the other. It has a dramatic impact on all of us, involving all our daily activities and our practices, including our medical education. Conferences have been cancelled or postponed. Webinars, virtual learning and virtual conferencing have taken over the exchange of knowledge and learning, and yes, the field is changing so quickly that we need this lifelong learning. After 10 years of practice, a third of my procedures were new; a third were modifications of what I had learnt during my residency; and only the remainder were—more or less—unchanged. So it continued. We learn from our own experience, but we also gain from others.
Virtual training and webinars will probably remain also in the future but only to a certain extent. However, virtual learning and webinars miss the one-to-one (social) interaction. The personal interaction with teachers, presenters and fellow congress participants cannot be replaced by a webinar. Visiting a conference requires you to force yourself away from your local activities, set yourself to register to find yourself in a place away from your daily environment. An important part of any orthopaedic conference is the industry exhibition, where we may find new tools and which feeds us with new ideas.
Moreover, there are other socioeconomic factors which will drive the return to a full conference and meetings calendar once the COVID-19 pandemic is history. It probably needs a vaccine or effective treatment to achieve this. Billions of dollars are currently spent towards these developments, so it is safe to assume that, somewhere in 2021, we will resume (international) travelling. International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and …
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