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Healthcare organisers facing 'complicated' challenge

American Express Meetings & Events reveal healthcare congress trends in new report

Three quarters of healthcare meeting professionals say there is increasing pressure to attract healthcare providers (HCPs) to events, while still complying with sector regulations.

The challenge is one of several trends identified by American Express Meetings & Events in their latest report, On the Horizon - Healthcare Congress Trends to Watch.

The report used data from a global survey of healthcare congress organisers and suppliers to identify the meeting trends in the increasingly regulated and compliance-driven healthcare and pharma industries.

Other findings include more pressure on healthcare congress organisers to create measurable return for their audience to sustain and increase attendance. This was down to the changing funding models, meaning more healthcare professionals were being required to pay for themselves, which can deter attendance. 

And while healthcare providers expect high-end experiences, meal caps and data transfer requirements were found to only complicate the planning process in the highly regulated environment. Other planners suggested their biggest challenge was finding new ways to deliver education elements.

Lisa McKenzie, vice president healthcare and pharmaceutical, American Express Meetings & Events, said: "Healthcare and pharma congresses face a complicated challenge: to grow engagement and attendance, they must navigate highly complex regulated environments and compete for the time of healthcare providers, whose time is already in demand. But it’s not insurmountable. By remaining keen observers of meeting trends, congress planners can make their event a valuable experience for healthcare providers and encourage attendance year after year."

Other findings include;

- About 80 per cent felt that the growing number of next generation healthcare providers will drive substantial change in attendee engagement strategies. To satisfy these emerging leaders and adapt to their existing habits, planners should consider supplementing congresses with digital, on-demand learning options that extend the congress experience long after the event. Meeting planners should proactively seek this next generation of HCPs to act as congress advisors to help boost attendance and engagement.

- Think beyond the ubiquitous mobile app. As emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are embraced in the medical field, organisers should look to these innovations as a strategy for engagement.

- A vast majority (77 per cent) agreed that congress organisers using data to create engaging attendee experiences will have a significant advantage over their competition.

- Personalisation has become an expectation in the meetings industry. Yet only 44 per cent indicate they use data to engage attendees with personalised content. For HCPs, organisers must balance data-driven personalisation with privacy policies often imposed on them by healthcare organisations and regulations.

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