Attending medical conferences is a great way for healthcare professionals to learn about the latest advances in therapies and treatments for diseases in their chosen area. Not only can Specialists listen to lectures delivered by world-renowned Key Opinion Leaders, with whom they may not normally come into contact, but they can speak directly to exhibitors, listen to abstracts, read posters, attend workshops… the benefits go on. However, attendance at these events comes at a price, both literally and figuratively.
Full pass delegate tickets for large-scale, international medical conferences can cost a physician anywhere between €100-600. Pricing is far from uniform across conferences, even between events of similar size and scope. Being a registered member of a society, such as one for Specialists in a particular disease area, can bring many benefits, including a reduction in the price of relevant congress tickets, although the cost of society membership needs to be factored in here as well.
There is also the time penalty incurred for attending conferences. Physicians are incredibly busy due to the nature of their work and are often time-poor, while most specialist disease conferences last at least 2 days, with some spanning almost an entire week. Many take place during the working week, too, leaving the physician with the dilemma of whether to take time off work in order to attend.
In addition to time out, there is the issue of yet further cost. International or regional conferences often change location yearly and whilst certainly an excellent way to attract potential delegates looking to tour Europe’s great cities, for example, this also adds the cost of flights, a hotel, local travel, food and drink on top. What originally looked like a €200 trip to attend the yearly conference can quickly balloon into an event costing 3 or 4 times as much, if not more.
Virtual congresses have completely eliminated nearly all of the aforementioned costs except that of the congress ticket itself, enabling Specialists to listen to talks from the comfort of home – especially useful during 2020 and 2021. However, two problems still exist with virtual conferences: screen time and flexibility.
Having been working from home for 15 months now (as of June 2021), the world’s tolerance for being sat in front of a laptop on calls or listening to presentations is starting to wear somewhat thin. ‘Zoom fatigue’ is a very real phenomenon, affecting physicians as much as any office worker. Asking a healthcare professional to listen to presentations on their laptop for 2+ days is less than appealing; even more so without the benefits of being able to pop out of the conference hall between talks to grab a coffee and network with peers.
One benefit of a virtual conference is that even though presentations are only delivered once, they are often uploaded to a media site where physicians can watch back later if they missed the event. However, contrasted with this perceived benefit comes the lack of ability for physicians to ask questions they might have. There may be the option to leave written questions under the video, but what is the guarantee of an answer from the speaker?
In response to the various issues which affect both live and virtual congresses, The Corpus has created our ‘Reflections on…’ series of educational initiatives. We will be running a series of meetings after each major conference of the year, across therapy areas, which will be completely free to attend for physicians. For example: ‘Reflections on ESC’, running from September 2021 onwards.
These live, 60-minute meetings are designed for healthcare professionals who are unable to attend a particular congress, for whatever reason. HCPs simply sign up to one or more of our ‘Reflections on…’ meetings, where they will hear a short presentation from an internationally renowned Key Opinion Leader, summarising the key findings and data releases from each day of the conference in a digestible format, before being given the opportunity to ask questions at the end, directly to the KOL.
Easily repeatable, these series’ of meetings could be run multiple times over in order to reach any size audience, anywhere in the world. The short duration of 60-minutes has been designed to retain the audience’s attention and not demand too much time out of the diary for physicians who are extremely busy.
The demand that we have seen from physicians for this type of activity is huge. If you are interested in exploring the idea of sponsoring a series of ‘Reflections on…’ meetings and discussing the benefits, both to you as sponsor and to an audience of Specialists, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44(0)20 7428 2903.
‘Reflections on…’ is the latest virtual education initiative from The Corpus, delivering the latest therapy area updates from international congresses directly to healthcare professionals worldwide. How do our online initiatives compare to in-person meetings?