Healthcare professionals keen for return to live events, but virtual has its place
Ashfield Event Experiences and the International Pharmaceutical Congress Advisory Association (IPCAA) have completed a follow-up study to 2020’s Healthcare Professionals’ Experiences of Virtual Congress. The report gathers the views on virtual medical congresses of more than 300 global healthcare professionals (HCPs).
The second phase of the research took place in December 2020 and a detailed summary report comparing and contrasting the sentiments of both sets of responders has 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,” explained Ashfield’s client partnership director, Andrew Moore. “Our summary examines their online behaviours 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 demonstrated 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,” said IPCAA’s co-president, Nicky Simpson. “HCPs would generally prefer to meet face-to-face, yes. Physically relocating to a congress centre 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 normally have considered going to in person, and they’re exploring the online environment and engaging in more online activities than ever before.”
Simpson added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been the catalyst for transformation for so many industries and organisations, 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.”
Download the survey here: Healthcare Professionals’ experiences of virtual congress – a follow-up study.