Meeting planners who organize medical meetings have been busy, as the demand for them is higher than ever.
Luckily, America Express Meetings & Events (M&E) recently released a report, titled “In-Depth Look at Medical Meeting Content: What Drives HCPS to Attend, Engage and Learn,” that provides insight into what impacts attendance and promotes engagement among health care professionals (HCPs). Here are some of the report’s key takeaways:
Sponsors and Reputation Matter
The report found that HCPs attend meetings to get new information and continuing education. M&E’s 2016 Doctor’s Orders Study said that 44 percent of respondents reported preferring educational sessions by a practice, university or hospital, compared to other learning sources such as medical journals and websites. And 38 percent preferred attending meetings or educational sessions sponsored by a specific pharmaceutical company.
That said, HCPs find the event’s reputation to be the most important factor in deciding whether or not to attend. But reputation depends on several factors, including knowledgeable speakers as well as new research and insights.
Keep It Local
HCPs reported preferring meetings that were closer in proximity to their home, citing time away from home and patients as a key concern. That said, they also viewed national or international congresses as less biased and a good place to meet new people. In other words, choosing a central location is key, or at the very least, attracting top talent is key to make it worth the attendee’s time away from home.
If you do go local, dinner meetings should be out of the question. Most HCPs are attending these events after a long day of work and want to go home as soon as the meeting’s over.
Invest in Content
Not only does having a well-known engaging speaker count for a lot in the minds of HCPs, but so does topics that are less common. HCPs don’t want to attend an educational session on a topic they could easily read up on in a medical journal.
Make Your Meeting Memorable
The Doctor’s Orders Study reported that HCPs receive 16 invitations to medical meetings each year, but likely only attend half. Some even reported receiving upwards of two to five invites a day to a meeting, conference or seminar. That means meeting professionals need to break through the mold from the get-go with an invitation that stands out. Again, focusing on quality content and speakers as well as putting an emphasis on post-event surveys to understand attendee experience is key in doing so.