If you didn’t fall in love with virtual medical meetings in 2020, let’s just say you’re not alone. They came with their fair share of downsides, including the smaller volume of presented data and the lack of face-to-face conversations about how to translate findings into clinical practice.
But while it’s safe to say the industry is eager to get back to live conferences, there are some aspects of the virtual experience you can expect to see follow us into 2021 and beyond—even after in-person meetings resume.
What started out as a mad dash to adapt to a new format eventually became an opportunity for both medical organizations and pharma companies to raise the bar when it came to disseminating study results. As doctors got more comfortable accessing presentations online, drugmakers refined the way they delivered information—and many of them were pleased with the outcome.
The truth is that virtual medical meetings changed how companies share clinical data in a way that is very likely to be the norm, moving forward.
One potential result? A hybrid conference model featuring both in-person and virtual attendance options.
While we cannot do everything remotely, we have learned quite a bit in this last year about what’s feasible to be done and what is already on the horizon, leveraging the virtual components that are effective.
It’s not difficult to see the appeal of such a model from where pharma’s standing. Virtual audiences only give drugmakers a bigger stage from which to trumpet their newest positive results.
One of the real benefits of virtual medical meetings is the reach and number of participants from around the globe that have been able to benefit from seeing the presentation of scientific data in real time and been able to be exposed to some really important data sets.
Ease of access is another great feature of the virtual setting, it is possible to have access to the data just by clicking on different rooms or sections of the event, without having to walk from one side of the convention center to the other.
More importantly, virtual access allows practitioners to attend conferences without having to be away from their patients.
But while virtual conferences have their advantages, make no mistake, execs predicted: As soon as organizations can safely convene in-person medical meetings, they’re going to do it.
Nobody wants to give up on in-person meetings, that still is an essential venue for people to interact and stakeholders will want to have the experience as soon as that can be done again safely. The societies are going to be keen to try to get back to in-person meetings.
The difference now is: the old mantra of online as a poor option for medical meetings is over. Virtual, online and hybrid models can be equally – or even more – successful and engaging in communicating important scientific information to the healthcare community.