Please note, this article contains references to Ashfield Engage which has now become Inizio Engage
Follow-up study of global healthcare professionals’ virtual congress experiences identifies the value of offering a choice of participation
Ashfield Event Experiences (formerly Ashfield Meetings & Events) and the International Pharmaceutical Congress Advisory Association (IPCAA) have completed a follow-up study to last year’s well-received ‘Healthcare Professionals’ Experiences of Virtual Congress.’
Our international healthcare event specialist and the highly regarded association partnered in September 2020 to discover what more than 300 global healthcare professionals (HCPs) really thought about virtual medical congresses – the aim being to identify which elements of a traditional, in-person congress had been successfully replicated in a virtual setting.
The second phase of this research took place in December 2020 – once again through an online survey completed by a similar number of HCPs – and a detailed summary report comparing and contrasting the sentiments of both sets of responders has now been launched.
“The purpose of this second study has been to consolidate opinion and draw more conclusions on the high-value elements of a virtual congress, as determined by the HCPs themselves,” explains Ashfield Event Experience’s Director of Client Services, Katie Koziol. “Our summary examines their online behaviors and preferences, and identifies the most effective methods to interact, engage and educate an online HCP audience.”
Key findings detailed in this second summary report, which concludes with a ‘Top 10 learnings and Top 10 tactical outputs’ feature that’s set to be welcomed by congress stakeholders, indicate that on the whole, virtual congresses have been positively embraced by HCPs. They see them continuing to provide access to scientific content to a wider audience in the future.
While there is no doubt that HCPs’ overwhelming preference is to attend congresses in-person, they are demonstrating that they would appreciate having the choice in how they decide to participate in the future.
“It’s this choice of participation that signifies a hybrid approach is the blueprint for the future of medical congresses,” says IPCAA’s Past President, Martin N. Jensen. “HCPs would generally prefer to meet face-to-face, yes. Physically relocating to a congress center safeguards their time and enables them to be totally dedicated to their medical education and networking with peers. But being able to attend virtually provides an effective solution to time-restricted HCPs. They’re now attending events that they wouldn’t usually have considered going to in person, and they’re exploring the online environment and engaging in more online activities than ever before.”
Martin N. Jensen continues, “The COVID-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for transformation for so many industries and organizations, and medical congresses are no exception. These findings point towards a seismic shift in how associations, PCOs and industry will need to collaborate to evolve the congress format for the post-pandemic generation of HCPs. Only then will these vital events continue to be the medical education channel of choice for physicians.”
For a detailed yet readable summary report of IPCAA and Ashfield’s findings, click on the link below:
HCPs’ experiences of virtual congress – follow up study