In a session at The Meetings Show earlier this week, Parker shared Amex Meetings and Event’s new research on healthcare professionals meeting and events preferences.
'Doctor’s Orders: The Physician’s Perspective on Meetings and Events' survey questioned 505 physicians worldwide to help pharmaceutical companies better understand the elements of the meetings that attract physicians.
C&IT caught up with Parker after the session to get his three top predictions for how healthcare meetings and events will change, based on the results of the survey.
1. Higher use of mobile app technology
A third (34%) of respondents in the 40+ age bracket said use of mobile tech at events needed to improve, while 52% in the under-40 group said mobile tech should improve.
Parker said: "I expect the use of mobile tech will mature and become more sophisticated and more intuitive. It will increasingly be used to shape delegates’ experience at healthcare meetings – before, during and after."
2. Evolution of content delivery
"I think the way that content is delivered will continue to evolve," said Parker. "The ability to travel and be at a meeting face to face is a concern for people, but they continue to want access to content that enables them to create benefits for patients."
"The challenge is getting the format and frequency for information that is made available outside of the face-to-face environment right so people still come to events. I don’t think its possible to take what’s delivered in a face-to-face environment and simply put it online – it’s not going to meet the expectations and needs."
He adds: "I think there will be a significant focus on consolidated connectivity, and how you enable management of participants’ experience through a single platform as opposed to lots and lots of different technology solutions."
In terms of the key aspects of the events, physicians cited content as one of the most important considerations when deciding whether to attend a meeting. The also survey revealed that 43% (40+) and 28% (under 40) felt that the types of content offered and healthcare meetings and events should improve.
3. Development of sponsorship/funding models
Parker believes that if the current decline in direct sponsorship models from pharmaceutical companies (where the healthcare invites and covers cost on behalf of healthcare professionals) continues, that other funding models will need to be developed, otherwise it could have a direct impact on HCP attendance at meetings.
"It will be interesting to see what alternative funding models develop and what role associations and societies play in supporting (or not) the funding of participants. For example, associations could receive grants from the healthcare companies and then take on the role of identifying which HCPs are invited and receive the funding," he explained, stating that this is indirect funding and the healthcare company could then not be seen to have influenced which HCPs are in attendance.
"Another question could be providing the motivation for HCPs to fund their own attendance. You’d need to understand the determining factors for them, which could be access to content that meets their learning requirements and the ability to network with peers. It would mean designing an experience that is compelling enough to make HCPs want to fund themselves."
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