Cogora: The Agency recently ran a completely digital Centre of Excellence (COE) providing a comprehensive overview of indwelling pleural catheters (IPC). Topics covered everything from basics of malignant pleural effusions, when to place an IPC, a review of relevant literature and guidelines, how to insert and drain IPCs, how to prevent complications, and even how to set up an IPC service from scratch.


The COE was led by Dr Mohammed Munavvar, Consultant Chest Physician and Clinical Director for Respiratory Medicine at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals. Dr Munavvar was joined by four international colleagues: Drs Karin Armbruster and Uffe Steinholtz Bødtger from Denmark and Drs Rosa Cordovilla and Javier Flandes from Spain.

Centres of excellence have typically been run face-to-face to provide hands on learning experience coupled with didactic sessions. With social distancing restrictions still in place, Cogora faced the challenge of providing a ‘hands-on’ experience from a virtual setting.

A well-designed agenda and collaborative efforts with the presenters led to a successful digital COE. While participants could not physically practice the procedure, Dr Munavvar pre-recorded the entire process step-by-step and was able to walk the audience through IPC insertion from beginning to end.

Another benefit of hosting this event digitally was the ability for participants to join regardless of location.  The event had registrants from several different countries including the UK, Spain, Denmark, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa, and UAE.

The post-event survey showed that participants highly valued the event with the sessions rated at an average 4.5/5 and with 100% stating they would attend another in the future. Overall participants thought the use of a digital platform was excellent as was the level of interactivity with the speakers and attendees. Comments were overwhelmingly positive with some stating the sessions were ‘informative and fruitful’, that the ‘webinar format was excellent’, and that the material was ‘profession relevant’.

Digital events have become the norm over the last year but many of us are eager to return to face-to-face. While in-person has advantages, digital platforms offer a unique opportunity to reach a wider audience, to access expertise from international key opinion leaders, and to fit more easily into the already busy schedule of today’s healthcare professionals.

Even with the easing of restrictions and the return of face-to-face events in sight, the success of this digital Centre of Excellence has demonstrated that a digital alternative remains a pragmatic alternative for future events.