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SES and medical conferences: How to keep the conversation going

March 28, 2022

One of the main goals of our education hubs is to provide up-to-date information on the different medical fields that we cover. Thus, a lot of the content that can be found on our websites summarizes and discusses the data presented in key medical conferences happening across the globe. 

Every year, the SES team prepares a comprehensive congress coverage plan tailored for each hub, including live coverage on the hub social media channels, expert interviews, and written summaries of the most relevant oral presentations. This plan is reviewed biannually by the corresponding steering committee. Once the conference program is available, Indication Leads conduct a thorough review to select the essential sessions to cover live and/or as enduring content. These sessions consider the unmet educational needs of focus for each hub and any additional themes suggested by our supporters and approved by our steering committee members. 

During the last couple of years, there has been a major breakthrough in medical education that will probably have a long-lasting impact on our understanding and expectations of medical conferences. Due to the pandemic, the necessary virtual format of such events was possible thanks to massive efforts and resources from the organizing medical societies, as well as the pharmaceutical industry. We have seen not only a growing number of events being organized but also record numbers of attendees and abstracts being presented. In 2021, our hematology hubs reported on disease and drug development updates from more than 30 conferences. 

Although there was an initial reluctance towards virtual congress attendance, the opportunities that it brought rapidly exceeded the downsides. The reduction in registration and travel costs improved access to these events globally while also facilitating the attendance of a conference without missing work or family duties. Virtual formats adapt easily to user preferences and interests and allow new opportunities for patient inclusion, with patients attending and presenting their experiences with the disease and treatment. Altogether, after 2 years and despite a steep learning curve, a recent survey of more than 1,000 doctors from 75 countries found that 58% of physicians preferred virtual and hybrid conferences moving forward. 

The current environment, eager to innovate, has also led to an ongoing discussion on improving the learning experience during attendance of a medical conference. The model of a 10-minute talk followed by a 5-minute Q&A, with barely any time for discussions with the presenting author, is no longer the gold standard. Instead, new approaches focus on extended panel discussions and live, open chats to maximize engagement and facilitate networking opportunities. 

SES Vision for medical education coverage

At SES, we share this vision of a more accessible and interactive medical education, and we believe that social media is fundamental to achieving this goal. During live congress coverage on our multiple Twitter accounts, we provide key data presented from the most awaited trials and drugs, and promote further discussion through questions and polls directed at our audience. We also involve the presenting authors and encourage them to join the conversation through social media or video interviews, where we allow them to expand on their work and give new perspectives on the data presented and their relevance in clinical practice and patient outcomes. 

The purpose of our SES education hubs is to go beyond the medical conference and provide an enhanced learning experience, where the user can be part of the conversation. Our audience are able to quickly grasp live highlights from the most important congresses in their field and come back weeks later at their own pace to delve into the details of educational and oral abstract sessions in our enduring hub content. 

In these exciting times for medical education, we encourage you to follow the SES and hub social channels, and check out our Hub Twitter Moments during the latest conference covered live: the 48th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation! 

Resources 

Pharmaphorum. Disrupted medical conferences: Lessons learnt. https://pharmaphorum.com/sales-marketing/disrupted-medical-conferences-part-1-the-new-normal-is-already-here-get-used-to-it/. Published March 15, 2022. Accessed March 22 2022. 

G-Med. Medical Conference Highlights. https://www.g-med.info/_files/ugd/2e94f6_b4a5efd7f0044f61bee7a3d5b8733b26.pdf. Published January 2022. Accessed March 22, 2022. 

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