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American Express Meetings & Events Reveals New Research into Evolving Medical Meetings Environment

July 27, 2016 MICE No Comments Email Email

American Express Meeting & Events today announces the results of a global survey into the perspective of physicians regarding meeting and events preferences and common practices.’s Orders: The Physician’s Perspective on Meetings and Events, surveyed 505 physicians worldwide to help pharmaceutical companies better understand the elements of the meetings that attract physicians today, and what will motivate them to attend in the future.

The survey was completed by physicians in numerous countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, France, U.S.A., U.K, and Mexico, and their opinions on the purpose, format, content and benefits of meetings were all taken into account. The report encapsulates a thorough understanding of how physicians view the modern meetings landscape.

Belinda Doery, Regional Director, APAC, American Express Meetings & Events, said, “Over the past few years, we’ve seen a noticeable shift in how the healthcare industry within APAC manages meetings and events. As compliance requirements have driven changes in transparency, and accountability, it has resulted in changing expectations from physicians when considering attending meetings and events.”

“Where previously we might have seen major events where physicians would bring their family, we are now seeing a greater focus on efficient, content-rich events which provide strong networking opportunities, and also reduce the time attendees spend away from their families and practices. Major events such as congresses, and smaller, niche events, continue to retain their significance to the healthcare industry, however there has been some decline in the number of mid-level events which have decreased in relevance for some.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Content is king

Physicians cite content for two of the top three most important considerations when deciding whether to attend a meeting – access to new information and the opportunity to earn CME credits.

While physicians consider content to be a critical factor when deciding to attend a meeting, they also select it as the most important element meeting organisers should work to improve. Presentation format, use of mobile technology, and opportunities to connect with other attendees are other areas physicians feel could be enhanced.

  • Physicians receive a lot of invites

Physicians have no shortage of meetings to attend, and the survey indicates that, on average, respondents were invited to 16 meetings in 2015, but only attended half that number. It’s therefore important for meetings organisers to understand what attracts physicians to some meetings, but not others.

  • Speaker dinners and symposia most popular meetings types

Respondents acknowledged that they most frequently attend speaker dinners (67%), followed by symposia (66%), congresses (53%) and product meetings (52%).

Investigator meetings and data monitoring committees were the least popular meeting formats in 2015, garnering 24% and 17% attendance rates respectively.

  • Helping their practice is the key draw for physicians in most regions

Respondents acknowledged that they receive numerous benefits by attending medical meetings, the most important of which is access to information that will help their practice. This was noted by 74% of the survey respondents. The least important benefit, at 39%, was sharing research and experience with others in their field.

In light of this, physicians strongly prefer formats that will facilitate acquiring new information. Workshops and breakout sessions were deemed superior to panel, single speaker, and audience response formats. This is particularly so for younger physicians with 54% reporting they prefer workshops to other designs, compared to 37% of physicians over 40.

  • Pharmaceutical and medical device companies trail behind universities and hospitals

Physicians most often attend meetings hosted by pharma or medical device companies, but when asked to rate meeting organisers in terms of delivering the promised learning or content, associations, societies, universities and hospitals were seen as superior to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

  • Mobile technology is a key priority for younger physicians

Mobile technology capabilities are particularly important to younger physicians, who will likely have technology integrated into most aspects of their lives. Doctors under the age of 40 place a higher priority on meeting organisers improving the mobile technology for their meetings, and are also more likely to use a mobile app to connect with other meeting attendees.

Improved use of mobile was prioritised by 52% of younger respondents compared to 34% of older respondents. This reinforces the importance of leveraging technology to attract younger attendees now and continue to attract future generations.

  • China bucks the trends

Unlike most other regions, Chinese physicians indicated they prioritise opportunities to connect with peers/experts over gaining information to benefit their practices. As such, they value the ability to attend smaller, more personal meetings as well as workshops with breakout sessions.

This is not to say that China’s physicians care less about their practices though, as respondents indicated much more concern than their global counterparts about taking time away from their practices.

With over 2 million practitioners and a population nearing 1.5 billion people, China continues to be a country of great interest for pharmaceutical and medical device firms, and understanding the cultural and professional nuances will be key for organising successful meetings in this growth market.

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