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Lack of time sees healthcare professionals skip conferences

Ashfield Meetings & Events has published Science of Healthcare Congresses, a white paper, pinpointing the needs of healthcare professionals.

This latest research study looks at the decisions made concerning congress attendance, and how healthcare companies can engage more effectively in this space.

Lack of time was by far the biggest reason that healthcare professionals (HCPs) are not attending conferences. They do not want to spend more than 3.2 days away from their practice, demonstrating how time-restricted they are. 69 per cent stated that time away from their practice limited the number of congresses they attend – the single largest factor.

Not surprisingly therefore, 95 per cent of HCPs would consider attending more regional or localised meetings offered by medical associations.

The findings suggest that despite the challenges of spending time away, healthcare conferences, conventions and organised association meetings still remain of significant value to HCPs. Attendance at national and international congresses were highlighted as a top preferred meeting type, the study found.

The study results have been compiled from the perspectives of over 200 global healthcare professionals.

Non-participating physicians were asked: “If congresses were accessible online or as virtual meetings, would you be more likely to attend?” 78 per cent responded that they are more likely to attend as a virtual delegate.

The main restriction for HCPs’ online congress attendance is the inability to network. 73 per cent of HCPs cite the ability to broaden personal networks, as well as meet with colleagues and peers as a primary reason for physical attendance. Online participation cannot replace human interaction and personal connections.

The 2019 data revealed that HCPs attended 8.4 congresses on average (a blend of national and international) over a two-year period.

Nearly half (41 per cent) of physicians stated that their attendance at conferences has increased over the past five years.

Just over half (51 per cent) said it had remained at the same level, according to the Ashfield Meetings & Events white paper.

Finding out about the latest scientific content was overwhelmingly the primary reasons for attending a conference, with 90 per cent of respondents answering in the affirmative. 80% state an opportunity to hear about the latest products. 73% cite the ability to broaden their peer network.

Desirable elements at conferences included ”More [content] readily accessible online, with use of podcasting – preferably with a conference specific highlights podcast which would be useful for areas in which I am not a specialist,” said one respondent.

HCPs place the greatest educational value on international congresses, with 85 per cent of physicians favouring them above national congresses.