Just what the doctors order: new research from American Express M&E

Physicians’ meetings preferences and expectations are clearly defined across generational and regional lines, according to new research from American Express Meeting & Events. The global survey, Doctor’s Orders: The Physician’s Perspective on Meetings and Events, researched the views of 505 physicians worldwide with the goal of helping pharmaceutical companies better understand the elements of the meetings that attract physicians today, and what will motivate them to attend in the future.

Doctors from Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, France, USA, UK, and Mexico were among those offering opinions on the purpose, format, content and benefits of meetings.

Issa Jouaneh, senior vice-president and GM, American Express Meetings & Events said: “Attracting physicians and designing effective, compelling meeting experiences is critical to the ongoing success of pharmaceutical-sponsored meetings. By better understanding the shifting expectations of physicians, meetings organisers can ensure that their events are a more effective channel for professional networking, product education, awareness and feedback.”

Content is king

Physicians cite content for two of the top three most important considerations when deciding whether to attend a meeting – access to new information and the opportunity to earn CME credits.

While physicians consider content to be a critical factor when deciding to attend a meeting, they also select it as the most important element meeting organisers should work to improve. Presentation format, use of mobile technology, and opportunities to connect with other attendees are other areas physicians feel could be enhanced. 

What attracts physicians to some meetings, but not others? Well, the physicians surveyed flagged the fact they receive a lot of invitations and that was no shortage of meetings to attend. Results showed respondents were invited to 16 meetings in 2015, but only attended half of them.

Speaker dinners and symposia emerged as the most popular meetings types. Respondents most frequently attended speaker dinners (67%), followed by symposia (66%), congresses (53%) and product meetings (52%).

Investigator meetings and data monitoring committees were the least popular meeting formats in 2015, garnering 24% and 17% attendance rates respectively.

Helping their practice is the key draw for physicians in most regions, it would appear, with access to information that will help their practice flagged by 74% of the survey respondents. The least important benefit, at 39%, was sharing research and experience with others in their field.

In light of this, physicians strongly prefer formats that will facilitate acquiring new information. Workshops and breakout sessions were deemed superior to panel, single speaker, and audience response formats. This is particularly so for younger physicians with 54% reporting they prefer workshops to other designs, compared to 37% of physicians over 40.

Physicians also most often attend meetings hosted by pharma or medical device companies, but when asked to rate meeting organisers in terms of delivering the promised learning or content, associations, societies, universities and hospitals were seen as superior to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Mobile technology capabilities are particularly important to younger physicians, with doctors under 40 placing a higher priority on meeting organisers improving the mobile technology for their meetings. They are also more likely to use a mobile app to connect with other meeting attendees.

Improved use of mobile was prioritised by 52% of younger respondents compared to 34% of older respondents.

Unlike most other regions, Chinese physicians indicated they prioritise opportunities to connect with peers/experts over gaining information to benefit their practices. As such, they value the ability to attend smaller, more personal meetings as well as workshops with breakout sessions.

The full report from American Express Meetings & Events can downloaded here:

American Express Meetings & Events is a division of American Express Global Business Travel.


Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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