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Event considerations for healthcare professionals and patients

An exploration of event types, a global versus local approach, and formats for the healthcare sector.

By Greta Nicholls, Project Director at SWM Partners

Meetings and events play an important role in healthcare, in that they have the ability to educate, inform, engage, and provide plentiful networking and collaboration opportunities.

There are, however, many types and formats at play, and selecting the right combination requires thorough planning, and a deep dive into elements including an organisation’s objectives, audience, timeline, and the information that is to be conveyed.

Communicating vital study updates with clarity

Investigator meetings are vital to the success of a study. They enable both healthcare professionals and patients to come together, as study data, updates and experiences are shared.

The most effective investigator meetings feature a carefully selected audience of between 30 and 100 delegates, focused agendas, a combination of speakers, such as key opinion leaders (KOLs), healthcare professionals and patients, and varied delivery styles.

Ensuring speakers receive extensive presentation development leading up to the meeting, and onsite, is also essential for maximum engagement.

Large-scale events for education and networking

Congresses that are tied to a specific therapy area are similarly key within the healthcare sector. Predominantly geared towards healthcare professionals, they provide them with the opportunity to hear from various experts in their field, as they cover topics such as product advancements and industry breakthroughs, across a multitude of sessions and tracks.

These events also tend to feature exhibition halls, and networking is a drawcard for delegates too, as they attract anywhere between approximately 5,000 and 30,000 attendees.

At the same time, they can be a relevant place to host ancillary meetings, such as investigator meetings, as healthcare professionals are physically present in the location for the congress.

Global vs. local settings

While congresses are often designed for a global audience and they are traditionally known for bringing people together face-to-face, there is also immense value in hosting smaller, more localised meeting series’ for both healthcare professionals and patients.

This reduces the need for delegates to travel – which can in turn have a more positive environmental impact, and speakers may change for added relevance, education and understanding of what is often complex data and information.

Here the language may evolve, design and content of presentations adjusted to reflect the local audience – such as by including case study examples that are more specific to their location, and the format updated to reflect unique cultural differences.

Audience-first format selection

While the pandemic may feel as though it is very much behind us, it has impacted the way people attend events today. According to Kaltura, for example, when asked whether they would prefer hybrid, virtual only or in-person only events, 50% of respondents opted for hybrid, 32% selected in-person only, and 18% chose virtual only.

This highlights the importance of conducting pre-event surveys, to unearth how potential delegates will want to join an experience. Given the format you choose could impact audience numbers, aim to leverage their feedback to shape the experience.

Creating opportunities for engagement and connection is essential across each of these formats. Enabling virtual attendees to ask questions and participate in polling is key, for example, developing event apps and incorporating virtual reality ensures a seamless and educational experience for both audiences, and bespoke platforms are a must for virtual-only events.

Seeking healthcare event support?

As a dedicated healthcare event and communications agency, we understand the unique nuances of the sector.

Furthermore, we recognise the value of an audience-first approach, and our team of event management and digital experts work together to develop educational and engaging hybrid, in-person and virtual events. Meanwhile, our medcomms experts step in to curate informative communications for meetings and wider studies, and provide extensive speaker support.

Get in touch with us via to learn more.

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