Major healthcare meetings survey finds face-to-face still valued in the digital age

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Major healthcare meetings survey finds face-to-face still valued in the digital age

Attending a scientific congress or meeting overtakes professional journals and publications as the educational channel of choice for healthcare professionals, according to a new study by major healthcare meetings specialist agency Ashfield Meetings & Events.

The conclusion comes from the agency’s new research Science of Healthcare Professional Meetings, a 2018 follow-up study to its 2016 Future Of Meetings White Paper.

The new White Paper compares the perceptions of healthcare professionals (HCPs) across a variety of speciality areas, and dives deeper into the ongoing evolution of the medical meetings landscape.

By looking at the individual component factors of why HCPs attend events, Ashfield Meetings & Events, part of UDG Healthcare, has used its data to better understand the motivations and desires of HCPs.

“Comparing the results of our 2016 study to the findings we discovered only two years later has been a fascinating exercise,” said Gavin Houston, CEO Americas of Ashfield Meetings & Events.

“A key outcome in this White Paper is that HCPs are saying their ‘preferred channel’ to receive scientific content across their medical learning journey, is through attendance at a scientific congress or meeting,” he added.

Houston continued: “It is evident that meeting face-to-face is still highly valued in the digital age. What also comes across though, is that HCPs attend meetings that offer a real return for the time and money they have invested. Further education which ultimately leads to improving patient care is very clearly at the forefront of their attendance decisions, making the quality and delivery of the content a vital element of an event’s success.”

Houston will be presenting insights from the new survey at the Global Pharmaceutical & Medical Meetings Summit in Philadelphia on 27 February.

The 2018 survey data showed a 9% increase in HCPs using meeting attendance as an opportunity to find time away from their practice. This was coupled with a slight increase (6%) in HCPs acknowledging the opportunity to visit a new city or location as a contributing factor in decision-making criteria.

This lends itself to the notion that consumer behaviours are becoming more apparent. Destinations are clearly still a consideration as to whether or not a HCP is compelled to attend. The destination and appropriate venue selection remains important, despite the increasingly rigorous regulatory environment.

Meeting attendance remains a key component of HCP education and development. Access to networking opportunities with global experts and key opinion leaders is of importance to HCPs, with two-thirds of respondents listing this as a primary motivator for attendance.

The other prominent motivators for attending remain consistent with the 2016 data, with over 80% of HCPs citing the ability to learn the latest scientific content for their disease specialty and over 70% of HCPs citing the opportunity to hear about the latest products in development.

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail