Published 21 Sep 2017

What HCPs want

Over two thirds of healthcare professionals (HCPs) agree that scientific meetings continue to be the most important way for them to gain new information and learn new skills. For the foreseeable future therefore, the pharmaceutical industry has an opportunity and a duty to continue to support HCPs in this way. So what is new?

Our new research study reveals an evolution in what healthcare professionals want from scientific meetings and how the industry is catering to those changing needs, highlighting a growing digital divide.

The study provides contextual evidence for some well-known trends, including the obstacles faced by HCPs in attending onsite events (76% listed cost, 62% listed time, and 71% listed prioritising time for workload). It also highlights opportunities for HCPs and industry to overcome these obstacles. For example, 76% of HCPs said that online access is more convenient, 73% said it is time saving and 71% said it is money saving compared with onsite attendance; and 56% stated that online access allows for attendance of a wider range and frequency of meetings.


Where and when they want it

The majority of HCPs would prefer to attend smaller local meetings than large international conferences. That said, the demand for online access to meetings and their output is greater still: Provision of on-demand online access to events and their output would meet the needs of 89% of HCPs and would also satisfy the 48% of HCPs who expect their online attendance of scientific meetings to increase in the coming 12 months. Furthermore, catering to the 81% of HCPs who would prefer to access conference materials throughout the year rather than be limited to the duration of the event, would increase the engagement and reach of the content.

How they want it

The most popular features of scientific meetings include case study discussions, videos of key opinion leaders’ presentations and eLearning modules. Also considered valuable by HCPs are conference highlights, videos on demand, presenter slide decks and live streamed presentations. Who is presenting the content, the study reveals, is more important still; 88% of HCPs value independent scientific meeting portals (supported by pharma), yet one third of HCPs rated their trust in pharma-owned meeting portals as low. Of the pharma respondents who took part in the study, 71% stated that they invest more in their own portals than in independent portals designed to support HCP access to output from events. This further highlights a lack of understanding or focus on catering to the specific demands of HCPs.






Why focus on your digital meeting strategy?

Pharma companies who are already overcoming the obstacles of providing online access to meetings and their content revealed the benefits: 81% of pharma professionals cited the ability to reach a broader geographical audience, a more multidisciplinary audience (66%) and a greater total volume of individuals (70%). Three quarters of industry professionals stated that providing online access is an effective alternative to onsite meetings and 72% recognised that an effective digital strategy can increase the lifespan of conference content.

As well as substantiating some generally assumed trends around changing HCP behaviour, the study reveals areas where pharma supply does not satisfy HCP demand. These findings are invaluable for pharma professionals who want to provide more effective and durable content, and more accessible and successful scientific meetings. The report also provides evidence that may be used to overcome internal obstacles including a lack of support, resource and streamlined digital strategy.

Scientific Meetings in the Digital Age: The what, where, when and how of evolving healthcare professional demand and pharmaceutical industry supply’ is a comprehensive study, conducted by EPG Communications Group. The independent 80 page report asked over 100 questions to 257 HCPs and 200 industry professionals in May 2017. Download your free copy or find out more about this comprehensive and revealing report.




Related Contents


Download this comprehensive and independent study examining the value of onsite and online meetings and the tools which support engagement before, during and post-events. Analysing demand and supply and how these are changing, the report highlights areas for improvement and obstacles to be overcome.