Medical meetings adapt to virtual world

New research on how healthcare practitioners view virtual events, what works and what doesn't.

For healthcare professionals, the top reason for attending virtual events is knowledge exchange, not networking.
For healthcare professionals, the top reason for attending virtual events is knowledge exchange, not networking. Photo Credit:Getty Images/nensuria

Compared to 2020, healthcare professionals (HCPs) are now more comfortable with virtual meetings, as Kenes Group reveals top deciding factors for going digital.

The event management company ran a 2020 survey with 809 HCPs from 112 countries on the efficacy of virtual conferences, and now, one year on, a new study has revealed a few surprises.

For the 1,015 respondents in 106 countries who had attended at least one digital meet, the top reason for virtual events is all about knowledge exchange (89%), and less about networking, the survey found.

Because high-quality content drives attendance, technical hardware is thus a key factor in supporting the learning experience at the event.

The top two must-haves in technical support both this year and in 2020 are still pre-recorded and live streamed content (82%), as well as making this content available 'on demand' for several months (75%). The lowest ranked was 1:1 meetings (10%).

To improve learning, the HCPs ranked pre-and-post webinars (78%) tops, followed by e-learning courses (77%), micro-learning activities (50%) and year-round online discussions (46%).

What's different from 2020's results are comfort levels with attending digital events — with more than 40% of respondents now willing to have an online session for as long as two hours, compared to one hour last year.

The top three engagement elements to encourage better participation are access to a company platform (49%), booths with online activities (48%) and early access prior to the exhibition (46%). Gamification ranked last at 7%.

When it comes to preferred registration packages, almost half (46%) of HCPs are comfortable with events having 1-2 days live with three months of Video on Demand (VOD), or 3-4 days live with three months of VOD (24%).

For planners and event managers hoping to bring more HCPs to the virtual table, these are the top tips:

  • With lesser able to take days off in order to attend a virtual event, shorter virtual events will work better
  • Add eLearning or similar elements, and make the session interactive
  • Content remain the top reason for attending events, with a time cap of two hours long
  • HCPs spend a limited time in exhibition areas (44% at 30minutes), so companies should add more relevant content
  • Meanwhile for the future, 76% of HCPs have already received a Covid jab, with 61% not yet ready to go back to live events just yet, but in 2022.

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