Saturday, April 28, 2018

50+ MORE Ideas for Adding Value to Healthcare Conferences DURING the Event

There are many different ways people extract value from a healthcare conference. On April 13th, participants of the Health Information Technology Social Media (#HITsm) shared their ideas, experiences and thoughts about what healthcare conference organizers, presenters, exhibitors and attendees can do BEFORE, DURING and AFTER a conference to make the event more valuable. 

In part one of this four-part blog series, I shared information about the BEFORE part of a conference sequence. In part two I shared the first half of the DURING. In this third post, I share the remainder of what #HITsm chat participants thought about value that can be obtained DURING a conference. 

In a final post, I’ll share what participants offered up regarding ways to make the most of a conference AFTER it’s over.

Note: To make it easy on the reader – and me – I’ve removed all the Twitter handles, hashtags and, in less than a handful of instances, corrected a few tweets to make them easier to read. You can read the entire, verbatim transcript here.

Using Social Media to Engage Others at Healthcare Conferences

Websites, #hashtags, Twitter chats, YouTube, Facebook and all the other social medias. Its mobile easy to share and people can carry the info with them on a mobile device where ever they go.

We've found that it's best to use the technology they're already using. Twitter is the best example, but LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat are other options.

Great question - We've actually been considering setting up a "Twitter table" at KLAS events and invite the Twittersphere to join in on the problem-solving breakout sessions we typically have at each event. Love to hear opinions: good idea? bad idea? why?

Social Media Ambassadors are pretty cool too!

Any way that you can push out information, without requiring much effort on attendees is key

Open-access input and bidirectional communication between speaker and audience. . . I like it.

What if there was a shared Google doc that people could all take notes in who are watching?

What a great idea!!! Take a risk and try it out! Maybe have a central thread in a Google doc or something for the problem solving. I wonder if that would be easier to brainstorm in vs. tweets.

I wonder, would we be able to drive people to engage in the Google doc? People at the conference, perhaps, but those who are just listening in and not in attendance?

I loved the one (Google Doc) you started at #HITMC last year. It was a brilliant idea to capture the unconference dialogue in that session!

Networking is One of the Primary Reasons People Attend Healthcare Conferences

#HIMSS18 had a Women in HIT Roundtable event Thursday. Upon arrival, there were 30+ small tables on different topics that you could join. The #Entrepreneurs table is continuing to meet offline to continue what we started there.

Host breakout sessions during the session so that people have an opportunity to "group think" and then share findings with the group.

Provide attendees with contact information so they can follow up with any additional questions.

Provide a way for both physical and virtual attendees to connect and interact with others based on topics both are interested in. Provide tools that encourage interaction in the event environment. Some event apps do this.

It is so easy to make it seem like you are in attendance even if not. Have even used this to ping people I know are there and get questions answered

Perhaps presenters/vendors/etc. could share opportunities to get involved with outside of the conference? To keep the momentum going?

Use lead retrievals to capture the information of people who visit your booth; ensure you develop a consistent way for classifying their information, and upload content to a CRM system - ensure you follow up with any potential leads!

Don't underestimate the power of a quick email at the conference to engage people as well.

Bonus: When a presenter is not able to attend and they just cancel the session instead of have a discussion or a backup presenter. Also, I have seen a conference organizer go off on an exhibitor because they wanted to close down early due to low attendance at their event.

"Ways to interact with conference attendees" Via @StudioNorth

Event Apps Have Become Table Stakes for Healthcare Conferences

An app created specifically for the conference, with all the events and info laid out and even a communication tool within the app could be one way to get attendees more involved and informed

Have you seen the app that Disney World uses for their parks? Something similar to that would be wonderful.

Many of these apps have SERIOUS #Usability issues

Communication tool within the app could be one way to get attendees more involved and informed

@HealthCatalyst does a tremendous job of providing real-time engagement, surveying and analytics through use of the conference app. @Slidoapp is a great app to facilitate this.

Recently at @KLASresearch hosted events, we've been loading all of our conference collateral into an app. Because of the nature of our events (tight-knit, specific attendee lists) we put in bios on each attendee to facilitate networking time.

Video & Live-Streaming are Recent Additions to Many Healthcare Conferences

Live interviews, podcasts and now TV are apparently standard conference items now.

I wish big conferences like #HIMSS would video tape all sessions so I can go back later to watch ones I missed. I only see an average of 5-6 the whole week if I'm lucky

Here is 360 video of the #HITMC awards in #NewOrleans. (It starts w/big applause for @techguy!) At the time, it was live. If you watched w/ one of the 4 dozen #HIMSSVR glasses I sent, you felt "immersed", as if you were actually, physically present!

Utilize @TwitterVideo #Twitterlists and hashtags.

Off the top of my head - if you were livestreaming, people offsite could participate real time. I think the taking of notes should be done by whomever is watching. Then, share the recap with all. - Kind of like a tweetchat recap!

Definitely live streaming as well as tweeting and providing speaker content / videos as a post-conference follow up....

This is worth repeating. FREE live streaming & smart hashtags. Increase access means fuller conversations. Example - #Medx

Live streaming is a beautiful thing! We have offices in Europe and it certainly comes in handy during company-wide meetings

I also like to live stream from sessions so those who are far can be a part of things.

Many of the World Health Care Congress events are live-streamed. But I think they charge.

That doesn't make sense. Their conversations could be so much more interesting if it was free.

App to stream. Be bold, you matter too. Find confidence to engage our 'high priests' with no clothes.

Could Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality Eventually Replace In-Person Attendance at Healthcare Conferences?

I would also like to see more Virtual Reality (VR) incorporated into conferences! Has anyone used it at a conference, and what was it used for? 

Virtual Reality is breaking new grounds and is an experience people walk away talking about. VR has many opportunities for all these things.

VR all the way! Makes sitting at home exciting! Interactive polls and open Mic Q&A's with home viewers would be great.

I love the idea of #VR conference attendance for those not able to attend in person. What @wareFLO did during the recent #VR conference was amazingly brilliant and can’t want until I can participate in more like that and maybe host one someday myself

VR is an amazing way to watch events, just ask @wareFLO ??. @savvypuppets is another very fun approach.

I liked how @BrennanSpiegel did #VR as well as @wareFLO for the live-streaming event at the #VR conference. Very interactive for so many miles away?

I'm a little torn on a lot of these ideas. Growing interaction for all is great. However, also need to consider resources available to conference. Size/scope will greatly influence what can be done.

"Five Ways to Use Interactive Technology to Create Great Customer Experiences"

"Five ways VR & mixed reality are set to transform how we do business" (and do conferences too!)

Healthcare Conference Attendees Do Not Live on Tchotchke Alone

Never underestimate conference meals! They really set the tone of the conference. We've participated in conferences where meals have been poor in quality, or not sufficient for everyone attending. No one can pay attention with an empty stomach.

Attendees love to be fed. Also, freebies from exhibitors and contact lists of the exhibitors and speakers. So tangible items and contact info to help build valuable lists of different professions.

It's a little thing, but the gift bag can be powerful when done correctly. Ex: We give #BestinKLAS lapel pins to vendors that attend our award ceremony. More than anything else, they LOVE the pins. They take them on sales calls. Swag that adds value is good swag.

Support Services at Healthcare Conferences

I just saw how this conference organizer offers: 'Babysitting and Youth/Teen Programs (per child, per session)' What do people think of this? I think it's a good thing

AGREED!! Baby mommas and daddy’s can attend with a little support for their kiddos. Baby sitters and places to nurse and change diapers.

The baby sitting is a hard one. Especially since different people approach it differently. However, having a nursing room and diaper room is easy and so valuable to those who need it.

More Insight and Ideas About Making Healthcare Conferences Great Again

In the next and final post, I’ll share the balance of the information shared by #HITsm chat participants about what conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees can do to add value AFTER a healthcare conference including:

  • How Conference Organizers, Exhibitors & Attendees Can Share Content AFTER a Healthcare Conference 
  • The Value of Recapping Healthcare Conferences 
  • Ideas for Continuing Engagement After a Healthcare Conference 
  • How Conference Organizers & Speakers Can Collect Feedback 
  • And a few other random ideas, thoughts and criticisms about Healthcare Conferences 
In the meantime, and as always, consider following me on Twitter where I share information about healthcare data, technology, and services as @ShimCode.

Monday, April 23, 2018

NatCon18 – A Healthcare Conference Like None I’ve Ever Attended Before

Photo Credit: @AdamJBecker
The 2018 National Council for Behavioral Health Conference (NatCon18) taking place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center renewed my excitement for healthcare conferences. The venue was very clean, well appointed and accessible, the ‘conference content’ was attractive and interesting, conference ‘support opportunities’ were quite unique, and the attendees were - at least to me - atypical; to paraphrase Wallace of ‘Wallace & Gromit’ fame: 'the NatCon18 event was like no conference I’ve ever attended.'

What Made the NatCon18 Event a Unique Healthcare Event?

In this post I’ll share why I claim the above and some resources that interested parties can access to learn more about this year’s NatCon18 conference.

A Nice, Accessible & Reasonable Healthcare Conference Venue

The Gaylord National venue is just right for the 5000+ attendees of the NatCon18 event: it’s a very nice hotel/conference property close to a major airport, has lots of dining, entertainment and retail options all within easy walking distance of the hotel, and offers plenty of meeting and networking space for conference attendees.

Behavioral Healthcare Conference Content

What I’ve been able to experience of the NatCon18 event and explore so far is information, insight and ideas conveyed via largely well-designed, well-located and useful event signage and printed materials. And there were plenty of 'blue-scarved/blue-tied docents,' navigator stations and the always detailed conference information and bag of materials provided upon registration. 

The sessions covered a good mix of both ‘business’ and technical topics share via various digital and hardcopy format. One thing I’m looking forward to are the poster sessions available of the huge touch screens located in the ballroom lobby area.

The following are some resources to learn more about the NatCon18 event:

#NatCon18 Tweets

Support Services – Becoming More Common at Healthcare Conferences

One of the interesting aspects of the NatCon18 event was that the organizers provided a good range of ‘support services’ that I’ve only recently begun to see at other larger events. The following are among the services I’m talking about:
  • Wellness Rooms 
  • A Mother’s Room 
  • Free Headshots – and not just cheapies but attendees were fawned over by makeup artists from Nordstroms 
  • Free Massages 
  • Manicures and Hair Stylists - Relache Spa
  • An Oxygen Bar
  • Take-a-Break Lounge - with lava lamps!
  • LinkedIn Bar - To help enhance personal profiles
  • Film Festival - showing behavioral health movies
  • Quiet Spaces – An entire set of rooms were available for people to use on-demand
Photo Credit: @NationalCouncil

Non-Traditional Services & Diversions Not Seen at Healthcare Conferences

The NatCon18 event organizers also offered additional opportunities and services for attendees to de-stress, center themselves and interact with others:
  • AA Meetings 
  • Transcendental Meditation Sessions 
  • ‘Pet-a-Pup’ Park
  • A pseudo-sandy beach – Complete with Adirondack chairs, beach balls and a view of the Potomac river 
  • A couple billiard and ping-pong tables 
  • Corn Hole game 
  • A Coloring Wall 
  • Bocce Ball lane

And Cheap Psychiatric Help – actually really good lemonade - that was free – not 5 cents as most psychiatrists charge. :)

A Note About NatCon18 Event Attendees, Speakers & Exhibitors

Not that it’s here nor there, but the attendees, speakers and exhibitors at the 2018 National Council for Behavioral Health conference were quite different than those I’ve typically met at other healthcare conferences - particularly HIMSS and AHIP Institute. The mix between ‘business’ and technical disciplines was an obvious difference. And my impression was that conference attendees were mostly older, seemingly business-focused and pre-dominantly female. The level of interaction with others at this event - vs. individuals walking around heads down on their smart phones was quite noticeable.

Moreover, in the conference sessions I attended, the speakers were not touting the latest and ‘greatest’ technology and spewing 'solutions-oriented mumbo-jumbo' as much as they were sharing information about the business of behavioral health and their insight and ideas about opportunities for technology to help address an scale behavioral health needs.

The NatCon18 event gave me the impression that it was a more informative, openly sharing and consultative experience rather than the more technology-focused, hard sell often experienced at many of today’s healthcare conferences.

More About the 2018 National Council for Behavioral Health Conference

In a following post I’ll share more details about the NatCon18 event including more links to available conference content, information created and shared by other NatCon18 attendees, some social media highlights and any interesting pictures and graphics I can find. 

In the meantime, be sure to follow the #NatCon18 hashtag, the @NationalCouncil Twitter account, the National Council Facebook account, and the 2018 National Council of Behavioral Health social media ambassadors

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ideas for Adding Value to Healthcare Conferences DURING the Event

Smart healthcare conference organizers are evolving their events to provide a greater range of value to a wider range of people – both physically present at a venue and also remotely located.

In part one of this now four-part series recapping the Health Information Technology Social Media (#HITsm) tweetchat of April 13th, I shared information about what chat participants thought healthcare conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees can do BEFORE a conference to make their event more valuable. 

In this second post, I’ll share about half of the insight, ideas and comments shared by tweet chat participants about what conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees can do DURING a healthcare conference to increase overall value for everyone involved. There are just too many good ideas to include in one post – without turning this into a War & Peace length post. 

Note: To make it easy on the reader – and most importantly ME – I’ve removed all the Twitter handles, hashtags and, in less than a handful of instances, corrected a few tweets to make them easier to read. You can read the entire, verbatim transcript here.

Should Healthcare Hosts Have a Hashtag?

A well promoted and used hashtag on Twitter has been the best I've seen. The problem many conferences have is not promoting their hashtag well.

Include Twitter handle as a start. if they don't have, organizer should set up. Tweet out deck, so all can follow including any linked videos.

Using hashtags, simultaneous Twitter chats or live (fb or periscope or YouTube) chats, also having time for q/a with presenters after their session on stage, so chat with the online participants, posting interviews from attendees and exhibitors is helpful too

This is such a great thing to do. Many conferences don't have a great hashtag which is a shame since it can build community.

I've recently learned that a well-placed hashtag is amazingly effective! I'm a late bloomer?

We've talked about a lot of them. Clear conference hashtags. Sub-hashtags for specific topics or sessions. (Notice how this is very Twitter heavy?)

What about those who are only on LinkedIn and beyond? Central place on a conference website, too. Or LinkedIn group.

Hashtag Printer Draws in the Social Crowd

People love to share photos, especially when they're in them. I think @StudioNorthUSA eBook shared idea of a hashtag printer? People upload selfies with event hashtag, then swing by booth to get a branded print-out. 

I think that is an example of this Hashtag printer idea.

YEP!!! We love our @TagPrints partners! They do GREAT event photo activations!!!!!

Yep! That was a great way to draw people to the booth! Acted like a virtual crowd gatherer!

Bonus: When organizers don't use Social Media. The worst is when they're no official hashtag & attendees are tweeting so many variations of the "official" hashtag that it's impossible to follow conversations. You miss great commentary w/ too many rogue hashtags.

Healthcare Conferences Need Engaging Speakers & Exhibitors

Conferences need to be a place where failure can be discussed & celebrated. Especially true as patients are now designers. 

So true - People are hesitant to talk about failures, but if they don't other may make the same mistakes! 

Talking about consumers/patients/people without having anyone normal (outside the industry) in the room

Presentations, engage with actionable items in other projects throughout the year that draw learners back to the great resources presented, and keep the convo growing/going

Larry Chu has a great saying "if it's not broke, break it". As a patient storyteller I don't think we have reached the full potential of SoMe yet. We can break PowerPoints w/o reinventing the world

Engaging attendees on social, and providing event-specific landing pages are also to create different opportunities

It's amazing how many conference organizers don't appreciate that their sponsors can add value to conference attendees.

This is a hard question. Really depends on type of presentation. Ultimately, a common theme I like is make it practical. How can I apply topic to what I'm doing?

Healthcare Content Shared at Conferences Must Be Easy to Consume - And Visual

Sometimes I will say at the beginning of a talk that I will share a link to a text-heavy version of my slides at the end of the talk (my slides are always pictures and few words) so people can listen and live-tweet or whatever. Never share text in advance.

A presenter who didn't kick off her presentation by reading directly from her slides but rather sung the intro material from the first few slides to the attendees. Sort of a "PowerPoint Karaoke' if you will.

Agree. Astute conference goers often don't window shop, but are drawn in by value or resources you can deliver to their organization

Self-described data geek, I always appreciate when presenters share insights grounded in data and research. A "teach-me-how-to-fish" session is always appreciated. Take for instance @AlgorexHealth approach to being a resource:

Silly little thing for speakers - put your #hashtag in the footer of your slides, along with your handle so people can tweet at you during the session. AND - follow up individually on the mentions.

Text-lite slides should be mandatory. The more words on a slide, the more the presenter seems to just read it. If that's the case, could do it alone.

Agree! And make it plain English, not the typical, repetitive mumbo jumbo of 'solutions oriented' tech speak.

I know I may be a nerd, but it would be fun to have a big group pic from an event. Love photo meetups!

I really like this idea. @Colin_Hung and @techguy did this at HIMSS, as well. I agree graphics (or images) are key! SO much more engaging than just a tweet.

The @virtualmedconf was engaging every speaker had incredible visuals that helped tell the story... @Osso_VR demonstrated a Virtual knee replacement.

Engage Healthcare Conference Attendees w/ Games, Contests & Current Events

Don't just use games to create attention and draw visitors, they should educate, facilitate networking or fill another attendee need.

I love when there are bingo cards or other contests to help pay attention through the sessions & w exhibitors. I also love when the panelist is interactive & when there is a take-a-way that is helpful.

We once had a TMJ specialist speak for us and afterwards took patients to a breakout room to test if individuals had any issues with the TMJD. People really felt like they got a free appointment and was worth their time to attend.

INTENTIONALLY share information, interact, and engage directly and personally. Lead with sincerity and a desire to build a connection.

Tie their presentation to an event that happened 24-48 hours immediately before their presentation and somehow meaningfully tie the event to their presentation. Not just a passing reference.

Using Tablets Pre-loaded with Healthcare Conference Materials

For the @HCExecGroup's Annual Forum, we preloaded tablets for each participant with our digital program, and attendee and speaker roster

We preloaded tablets for each participant with our digital program, and attendee and speaker roster. We were even able to poll attendees, share conference updates, and push out messages, etc. Great tool for the conference!

Using the preloaded tables at the @HCExecGroup's Annual Forum was VERY well received with attendees and participants

Yes of course attendees kept the pre-loaded tablets we provided them. :) A little token of appreciation!

Engaging Healthcare Conference Attendees & Non-Attendees Via Social Media

Social Media, particularly Twitter of course, is a great way to follow along with the conferences. It requires planning from the organizers in selecting hashtags and continuously prompting attendees

Record or host the session live via webinar. Provide remote folks with an opportunity to ask questions and leave time at the end of the presentation to address questions.

IMO this is really a matter of just being engaged. If in person, share what seeing/learning. If remote, see what people there saw and take advantage of more time/freedom to add outside content.

Share social info so that attendees can live tweet or run @Facebook live sessions.

Love the idea of engaging a live presentation audience with a virtual one via Twitter, Skype, FB Live, etc. The challenge in my experience, has been getting a NON-MarCom audience engaged enough to make it work effectively.

Live-Tweeting Healthcare Conferences – Loved by Many

Live Tweet your session. Or have someone from your team Live Tweet during your presentation to connect with a wider audience. Prepare a list of key quotes and facts before the session.

I'm a big fan of (the speaker) live tweeting during the session. I saw @drnic1 do that once and loved it, so I did it the next year. Of course, you need a partner to send the tweets out for you. Or schedule them ahead of time. With graphics!

I love the idea of engaging a live presentation audience with a virtual one via Twitter, Skype, FB Live,

We ran a live tweet chat during the preso to illustrate

It takes some coordination but can be really valuable to everyone involved.

Did the speaker seem distracted at all to be tweeting while they were speaking?

Speakers can craft their tweets ahead of time and then have a partner in crime to send them out for you.

You can also just schedule them ... But don't do what I once did and forget that you’re speaking in a different time zone!

Better hope you're not running late ;) but a great way to engage folks online!

Curated tweet wall to net our spammers and offensive content. Edgy and frank tweets whether flattering or challenging narrative should be encouraged. I mean really, we've failed for decades to manage and deliver a sustainable healthcare economy. Conferences not exempt.

"6 things to Tweet when attending a conference"

Live-tweeting conversations including onsite & offsite folks; FB live; post-conf tweetchats; sometimes a project arises from a session that involves people at the session as well as people who were offsite ... but anything like that is driven by lots of communication.

More Insight and Ideas About Making Healthcare Conferences Great Again

In the next post I’ll share the balance of the information shared by #HITsm chat participants about what conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees can do to add value DURING a healthcare conference including:
  • Importance of ‘Handouts’ including electricity, drinks, meals and general assistance 
  • Networking Needs DURING the Event 
  • New & Emerging Technology for Healthcare Conferences
I’ll then wrap up the series with a post sharing what chat participants suggested could be done AFTER a healthcare conference.

In the meantime, and as always, consider following me on Twitter where I share information about healthcare data, technology, and services as @ShimCode.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Insight into How Healthcare Conferences Must Evolve in Order to Remain Relevant – Part 1

This is supposed to remind you of a Jetson's-like 21st Century Registration Desk
Healthcare conferences are popular ways to bring people together in one place where they can discover and share information, insight and ideas on a specific theme; and create or extend personal relationships. And suck the money and time from literally 100’s of 1000’s of attendees. Anyone who been to more than a handful of healthcare conferences over the last decade knows it’s time for a change.

Last Friday, April 13th I hosted the weekly Health Information Technology Social Media (#HITsm) tweetchat and the theme of the chat was ‘How to Evolve Healthcare Conferences in the 21st Century.’ 

During the hour-long chat, 66 participants shared 540 tweets on the topics listed here.

In this first post of a four-part series, I’ll share information about what chat participants thought healthcare conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees can do BEFORE a conference to make their event more valuable. The topics included those physically attending the event AND those who may follow along remotely. 

In the following three posts I’ll share chat participant insight about the DURING (two posts) and AFTER of a healthcare conference.

Note: To make it easy on the reader – and most importantly ME – I’ve removed all the Twitter handles, hashtags and in less than a handful of instances, corrected a few tweets to make them easier to read. You can read the entire, verbatim transcript here.

What Should Healthcare Conference Organizers Consider When Planning Their Event?

Smart organizers will recognize two things: 1) clever marketing notwithstanding the audience pool is larger externally than in room, 2) Matter more during, before and after the event. A one and done event fades fast. 

One key we've found to any conference strategy is the importance of getting the right people in the room that understand the culture you want to create. Everything else just accelerates that key effort.

Most tangible value is relevant information. Consistent and clear information that communicates the value of the conference and provides attendees a sense of what to expect

Stale content is not well-received and wastes time. Before launching an event, it's imperative for conference organizer to ensure that it is not redundant and truly differentiated in its approach. Creativity with bringing tech to bear is critical.

Have a good understanding of the target audience. Not every conference is for everyone. That being said, if make content known, can get let unexpected attendees assess potential value.

Enlist down to earth people to provide their insight into their specific needs and why they want to attend the specific conference. I'm rather tired of caricatures of Big Shot CEO's but little else.

I know it's a business. But taking long view, delivering value over long term, can make a conference stand out on the year's calendar. I could go from HC conference to conference like I was following the Grateful Dead, but

Make sure there is a focus or theme to a conference. Make clear what differentiates this conferences from others. What are the top 3 things attendees can expect to gain from the event?

Depends on objectives of organizers. Offer value. No more 'me too' programs with usual suspects saying the same things to the same audience. Less talk, more action? #boring

Show point of how conference is distinct from others, also show how this year's conference is distinct from prior years.

I agree with the gestalt here - any conference is best positioned as part of a broader conversation, and the organizer should create pathways to & for the conversation before, during & after the IRL event (without worrying too much about monetizing everything)

Healthcare Conference Organizers: Stop Demanding Speaker Proposals So Early

You know what's interesting - you submit your prospectus months before the conference. For me, my topic evolves over time. Wish I could edit and give more info closer to the event. 

This is so true. I understand why it's necessary to have deadlines, but it is really hard to predict that far in advance.

To that point, one thing that gets me is having to submit proposals so far in advance. If conference does "hot" topics, hard to predict 7-9 months in advance.

Include More Patients and Authentic People Who Work in Healthcare’s Trenches

Have meaningful and authentic pathways for patient participation and travel. That's how you provide value.

Provide scholarships & financial aid to patients. Have a smart hashtag & live stream the conference for FREE! Knowledge is a human right.

Have meaningful and authentic pathways for patient participation and travel. That's how you provide value.

Put real Patients on panels. Have patients lead panels. Put patients in leadership positions on organizing committees.

If conference hosted by an organization, identify ways people can volunteer or become involved with the org. How I've got in with a couple of places.

What About Fees & Incentives for Attendees of Healthcare Conferences?

Offer early bird registration and ensure everyone knows what's included with it. Make sure the agenda is posted early and offer networking opportunities. 

And perhaps offer them a discount for providing some referrals, content or other general value to the organizer, attendees, prospective attendees or others?

Make sure that speakers get free registration - and maybe more.

Prizes are always a great incentive! Whether it's door prizes to get them there, swag to shower them with, or even offering a prize to a lucky winner that registers by a certain date.

Incorporate fun material about the event and the host city, too. Provide some insight into how attendees can leverage their travel and lodging expenses.

Share Value via a Comprehensive Healthcare Conference Agenda

Allow more detailed exploration into the details of what will be shared by presenters. The typical short paragraph and three sentences about "What You'll Learn" is too little. 

Provide Basic, Intermediate, Advanced program listings, so you don't go into something over your head

Share educational literature and info graphics along with mapping of the facility and surrounding.

Part of the responsibility of making a conference a great experience lies with the attendee to do their research and preparation.

I love when conference organizers put agenda & speakers out so I can research topics & develop questions prior but I also love when I get local details & can study the logistical map & where I will be going throughout day so I can preplan - I only have so many energy pennies

Organizers could provide recent experience of speakers. Not a fan of attending sessions only to find I'm more informed than the speaker.

Email reference material early. It's nice to research the speakers, content, bills, laws, etc surrounding the event before arriving.

BONUS: Confession Time - I once published & distributed a conference agenda to attendees at the event; only to discover that I had gotten EVERY room # wrong! The devil is in the details! Check your work people!

Make ALL Conference Content Available Digitally!

Create comprehensive digital agendas that are easy to read and digest, and allow attendees to plan their conference strategy meticulously 

Our digital agendas provide for direct connection between attendees, speakers and influencers (speaker/attendee bios hyperlinked to social media accounts)

Distributing slides to attendees online. Sharing speaker info or profiles. Putting things like Twitter handles directly on badges to enhance name/face/human-to-human recognition.

We've also created branded conference landing pages that only attendees can access with all conference details and files available

Make Everything Your Healthcare Conference Offers Easy to Find

Create a hashtag, RSS feed, live blog, and/or other means that attendees and prospective attendees can use to monitor conference developments and engage with others. 

Don't make me download an app or sign up for a conference-specific site to get access.

Follow the lead from Auto Malls and group exhibitors based on their functional focus. i.e. keep similar vendors in the same area. I shouldn't have to jump all over a huge hall to visit with similar vendors.

An interactive guide that gets attendees familiar with talks that will be given, keynote speakers, a look at technology that will be featured. Get them excited to attend!

Establish the conference hashtag in advance! If it's changing from previous years, let people know!

Have regular tweetchats leading up the event is great and can unveil topics of interest. Sharing speaker Twitter/LinkedIn profiles also helpful.

I like the idea of hosting a webinar for newbies to the event (especially large ones). Get them acclimated beforehand and give them a place to ask questions. It's like appointment TV - tune in together!

Healthcare Conferences: All About the Networking

Conferences are best for Social Networking - not online. Anything that they can do to help "birds of a feather" to meet in person 

I'm a big fan of knowing who is presenting, sponsoring, AND who else is already REGISTERED to attend, in advance. It makes planning a whole lot easier, and even creates a sense of FOMO that can drive attendance growth.

The conference should be a piece of an ongoing conversation, never just a onetime event

There are reason$ why only the sponsors of conferences get the attendee email lists. That's what they're paying for by sponsoring the conference

A large value of the conference from a vendor’s perspective are pre-arranged meetings outside of conference program schedule. Provides a time to re-engage with clients and deep-dive into problem- solving and brainstorming.

Reach out to attendees tweeting the conference hashtag. Invite them to schedule a product demo at your booth or register for your speaking session or after party.

Participate in the social and digital community (channels, blogs, webinars, local events, etc.) in a meaningful way year-round. Not just in the months leading up to the event.

More Insight on Healthcare Conferences

If you thought the above was helpful, wait until you see the next post cover the ‘DURING of Healthcare Conferences!’ Over 110+ ideas, experiences, needs, and desires shared by #HITsm chat participants will be shared across the following general categories: 
  • Conference Content – Including speaker materials, graphics, video and sharing to attendees 
  • Speaker Qualities – What makes a good speaker? What do they do different than the boring presenter? 
  • Sharing & Engaging with Physical & Remote Attendees including social media, live-streaming and new approaches 
And a bunch of other stuff!

In the meantime and as always, consider following me on Twitter where I share information about healthcare data, technology, and services as @ShimCode