Healthcare meetings: has the model changed forever?

Is the healthcare meetings model fit for purpose in a post-Covid events landscape?

That’s one questions being posed after a study by Across Health revealed 50 per cent of neurologists would be unlikely to return to physical meetings when the pandemic ends.

Simply put, the low costs, convenience and quality of the digital offering out-values physical events for many healthcare professionals.

Does this mean an end to pharma meetings as we know them? In anticipation of the new normal, creative agency Smyle and healthcare communications agency The Difference Collective have partnered in an attempt to create a new healthcare meetings model.

Their aim is to provide pharma companies with the confidence and know-how to produce engaging and valuable online events to the audience who prefer online event format to the pre-Covid offline model.

Smyle communication director Jonathan Boyne says: “2020 has been a testing year for the pharma industry as it has had to rapidly adjust its mindset during a challenging time. But 2021 now provides an opportunity to shape those lessons into a truly effective digital model that works across the varied demands of the industry.”

With the enforced shift from physical to digital events during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic triggering a radical change in healthcare professionals’ behaviour, it could be that virtual and hybrid events provide meaningful solutions in the sector. At least, that’s what Smyle and The Difference Collective are thinking.

The Difference Collective digital lead Wayne Page adds: “Hybrid and virtual events mean pharma can continue to reach and engage with these critical audiences remotely, but what the industry needs is a partner able to combine innovation from the consumer world with science and regulatory rigour.”

The partnership will primarily spearhead a strong digital event offering, and when physical events do return, Smyle and The Difference Collective will help to implement hygiene measures, such as audience testing, space planning and biosecurity for its clients.

The nature of their work means healthcare professionals will inevitably be more clued up than most on the safety of meetings and events post-pandemic. So it will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

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