With widespread access to vaccinations this year—and an established knack for pandemic living—many medical conferences are returning to in-person or are adopting a hybrid platform in 2022. But this is not as simple as it seems, and the “new normal” requires more extensive planning and safety strategies while leveraging greater tech features to facilitate the continued need for remote engagement.
Medical conferences on hematologic malignancies and solid tumors are particularly important, as research in the field is quickly evolving. There is an urgent need to share this knowledge to get innovative therapies to market and to the patients who need them.
That said, it’s essential for conference organizers and presenters in the hematology-oncology space to be familiar with the changing requirements for planning a successful meeting. Whether you are attending or organizing a medical conference this year, here’s what you can expect and what you need to know.
Live, virtual, or hybrid?
Hematology-oncology conferences typically bring together researchers from 50+ countries worldwide, so planning in the times of COVID is a delicate venture. First, you want to ensure that sudden travel restrictions or local regulations don’t stop attendees from getting value from the conference experience.
Several considerations influence the type of meeting platform—live, virtual, or hybrid—including the expected number of attendees, the location, and the time of year. For example, meetings scheduled early in the year (and mostly outside the US) are more likely to adhere to a virtual model or may be postponed as face-to-face events until the fall months.
Download your complimentary copy of Aptitude Health’s 2022 hematology and oncology conference calendar:
Live conferences planning around safety and flexibility
Conference participants are encouraged to plan well in advance, meaning reviewing travel regulations to wherever the meeting is located, securing proper documentation for international travel, and contacting their country’s consulate in advance.
Conference organizers are going to considerable lengths to address health and safety issues for live events to resume. In-person attendees must submit proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time the meeting starts. Additionally, on-site COVID-19 screening will be available for any attendees who feel symptoms or who require a negative test before flying home.
Large-scale conferences are more likely to adopt a hybrid model
Conference size makes a difference. Many smaller-scale meetings (those expecting under 600 attendees) are opting for face-to-face events, while larger conferences (attendance in the thousands) are more likely to offer a hybrid platform. To find out more about the projected attendance of your favorite conferences, visit the hematology and oncology congress overview.
To be sure, the hybrid meeting model is a more complex enterprise; it involves sophisticated tech and a high level of coordination, often requiring a secondary set of personnel, which is more costly both to organizers and sponsors. Therefore, it makes sense that the smaller meetings commit to either an in-person or virtual format.
Hybrid models offer a seamless experience between live and virtual
Online components of a hybrid model include live streams of conference presentations, live question-and-answer sessions, and other interactive features. Often, streamed content is accessible to all attendees for a month or more following the meeting. This encourages continued engagement beyond the conference.
For the most successful hybrid meetings, the experience between in-person attendees and remote attendees should be seamless and offer natural social networking opportunities that extend into the digital space. Meeting events and activities should be designed to engage all participants, and if possible, leverage immersive technology like virtual and augmented reality.
International conferences will mostly remain virtual
Another influencing factor is location. In the US, many conferences are returning to a live format, while international conferences are more likely to be virtual. In addition, because travel restrictions may be uncertain at the time of enrollment, it’s more important than ever for medical meetings to offer an online platform for international researchers who are unable to attend.
During this period when many participants are still hesitant about attending live meetings, conference coverage reports can bridge the gap for conference organizers who are not yet ready to embrace the hybrid model. The hematology-oncology sector is navigating an ever-changing landscape, both in the knowledge itself and in the way it’s shared. Aptitude Health is the preeminent partner to provide you with conference coverage reports.