The Annual Meeting of the German, Austrian and Swiss Societies for Hematology and Medical Oncology (DGHO) will become Switzerland’s first large-scale digital congress when it runs 9-11 October.
DGHO is the biggest physicians’ congress in the German-speaking world and a true long-runner for Basel. The meeting will gather most of the speakers on site at the Congress Center Basel (CCB), with participants joining remotely. Thus, this city on the Rhine maintains its involvement in the event for a fifth time despite the coronavirus pandemic. And a completely new approach is being adopted: while most of the speakers will be on site, participants can contribute from their homes.
“In view of the current pandemic situation, holding the conference in its customary setting is not possible for a number of reasons,” said Congress president professor Dr Markus G. Manz. “In addition, as physicians, we also have to think of the consequences of SARS-CoV-2 being spread by medical staff.”
Cancellation, however, was not an option, since the participants are active in a specialist field that is very much driven by innovations. Lively dialogue and continuous training are thus essential for them.
The chairpersons of the four societies and a number of the speakers will be present in Basel, while attendees take part digitally. Organisers will be employing a chat function to allow the participants to link in and network on the basis of the multi-streaming principle, whereby participants have the opportunity to leave a session at any time and switch to a different one instead. They can also access all content when convenient, since it will be available online until 31 October 2020.
The organisers are aiming to attract at least half the customary 5,500 visitors to the online version of their conference. “Analogue conferences will always have a value that virtual encounters cannot replace,” says professor Dr Markus G. Manz. “But since it is not yet clear how long the restrictions are going last, we would like to acquire valuable experience for the future in Basel.”
The CCB has all the necessary technical infrastructure to host the conference and has already organised a number of digital conferences.