IRENE COST Action Meeting Report to ESO

by Anita Arsovska, FESO

The Management Committee Meeting of IRENE COST Action took place in Chisinau, Moldova, 16th-17th of September 2019, hosted by Prof. Stanislav Groppa, attended by 46 delegates from 26 countries (many FESO and ESO-EAST representatives), chaired and co-chaired by Prof. Robert Mikulik and Prof. Natan Bornstein, respectively. Based on the principles of ESO-EAST platform which was created by Prof. Valeria Caso and the efforts of the Steering Committee, and also formation of RES-Q database, IRENE stands for Implementation Research Network in Stroke Care Quality. It is supposed to support, accelerate and enhance the measurement of quality of stroke care, in countries where it has never been done before.  IRENE COST Action is designed to provide a solid base to collect and share data for countries, which are at varying stages of implementing modern stroke treatment programmes. As Veronika Svobodova (Grant Manager) stressed, the main objective is to implement existing treatments in acute stroke more effectively through the development of an implementation framework and through the testing of the implementation effectiveness. The IRENE COST Action has a high geographical relevance main focus on countries, where the burden of stroke is higher, while quality of stroke care is lower (mainly Eastern Europe and Central Asia). IRENE COST Action will pioneer a large-scale stroke care quality improvement project, which will: improve understanding of contextual factors, lead to improved uptake of proven interventions, decrease disparities in stroke care (mainly in Eastern Europe).

Main points of this meeting were to introduce the research proposals and to choose with voting which proposals are fundable from IRENE after scientific discussion. Delegates also had the opportunity to show interest and join one of the working groups that were previously defined during the first meeting in Brussels in April this year. The four Working Groups are the following: WG 1 – Leadership (provides scientific leadership, responsible for development and management of the network, consociation of members, acceleration of knowledge exchange in leadership and establishment of leadership in stroke care in focus countries);  WG 2 – IRENE COST Action Members (responsible for development of a national network for stroke care quality measurement, involvement of national stakeholders, creation of a national implementation strategy); WG 3 – Registry Management (from research concept to implementation: description of the methodology and technical solutions, platform enhancement focused on meeting diverse country demands, automated inclusion of data points from existing registries, appropriate and up-to-date security, alignment with applicable legal frameworks) and WG 4 – Dissemination (responsible for enhancing the impact of the IRENE COST Action through: a) the involvement of diverse stakeholders b) information activities targeted at stroke professionals and stakeholders in other geographical areas c) campaigns to motivate professionals in other medical fields to follow the IRENE COST Action results; informing the lay public about stroke risks and stroke care, in order to increase their awareness and potential interest to be involved in the implementation process.

Overall, the two days intensive meeting was an excellent opportunity to meet with colleagues, make plans for future collaboration, exchange knowledge, and also and great inspiration to continue to work in order to improve the quality of stroke care in each country involved. All delegates enjoyed the warm hospitality of Prof. Stanislav Groppa and his team and were delighted by the charming city of Chisinau and its natural beauties.

As Dr Francesca Romana Pezzella (Science Communication Manager of IRENECOST Action) said: “IRENE network is a think tank! COST ACTION 18118 a valuable tool for empowering the quality of stroke care in the European countries, offering the opportunity to be in contact with an extremely lively, proactive and experienced scientific community. IRENE supports meetings, workshops, training schools which are critical to establish  the culture of quality of care”.