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10.06.2022 | Health Strategy

Are you ready for your next medical congress?

By Jerin Thomas

Social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram and YouTube  have become fundamental sources of information for most healthcare professionals (HCPs). They are frequently used by HCPs to disseminate key information and to collaborate with each other. Medical congresses are always a key time for HCPs and with ASCO 2022 just around the corner we have seen an increase in social media activity by HCPs engaging with their global peers, sharing content and highlights from congress.

My colleague Mark Sullivan in his recent article points out, during the 2022 ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, oncologists voiced their opinion using their social media channels to discuss novel treatments and different products. As the world is slowly easing off the COVID-19 restrictions, HCPs are once again excited to attend congresses and meet their peers in person.

For pharmaceutical companies, which often invest vast sums into supporting congress events and preparing their research, exhibits and materials for the event, this time is key and it is important to understand how to best support HCPs during this time,

In the section below, we look at how pharmaceutical companies can prepare for their next congress and ensure that their HCPs receive a holistic experience.

Active learning

In preparation for upcoming congresses, pharmaceutical companies can gain an advantageous edge by just simply listening to their HCP customers to understand  their behaviours, drivers for online conversation, key topics discussed, challenges, issues and unmet needs. 

Those insights will also inform the focus of their resources and help them answer  key questions such as ‘What are the key congresses for our customers?’ Additionally, pharmaceutical companies can leverage online insights early on to understand what went well and what are gaps in the previous congresses to formulate and update their congress strategy for maximum engagement and impact.

Engage your customers early on

We have observed that congresses and events generally drive the online HCP conversation. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies can start thinking about how to best engage with their customers early on. For example, start using specific hashtags in which they can share their pre-event materials, key congress data, have live conversations etc. This way they can start engaging with their HCPs early on and allow their HCPs to be part of the congress.

Empower HCPs with congress related content

Seek to bring online HCP influencers to involve them in developing future content for your next congress. This way you can increase your reach and amplify your message quicker further. However, please do your due diligence to ensure that their values and interests match with yours.  

Think about empowering HCPs when developing digital content. For example, creating shareable content which summarises key takeaways will better equip HCPs and make them feel empowered to share learnings from the congress to their peers and followers. During congress events, HCPs often discuss trial data, and it is worth considering sharing clinical trial data in layman terms for HCPs and the wider audience to digest key takeaways quickly and share it with their peers which will prompt further discussions.

Track and react to HCPs’ online conversations

By tracking live HCP conversations/responses especially after launching a campaign or an initiative, pharmaceutical companies can measure the impact and check whether the campaign/initiative is meeting the KPIs that they have set and or not. In case the KPIs are not met, the insights from tracking live HCP conversations would inform pharmaceutical companies how to best position their campaigns/initiatives and help them in evaluating their engagement strategy in preparation for the next congress. 

Here are some useful questions for you to consider when planning your next congress:

  • Do you know which HCP online influencers to engage and collaborate with to develop congress content?
  • Do you have the right internal infrastructure to support your congress content planning and engagement strategy? 
  • Do you have the right KPIs to measure your HCP engagement?
  • Considering HCPs’ current challenges and interests, how do medical congresses fit into your omnichannel strategy?

Leverage social media insights for medical congresses

As HCPs are using social media channels frequently, pharmaceutical companies can leverage online insights to develop their congress materials and to build or refine their HCP engagement strategy. Pharmaceutical companies can utilise online insights to develop the right content and inform MSL and field reps with key info to initiate rich, meaningful conversations with HCPs whether it is in person or virtually. As the world is adopting a hybrid working style, it is important for pharmaceutical companies to think about how to connect with HCPs before, during and after congress. 

If you would like to hear more about the needs, opinions and digital behaviours of HCPs in your therapy area then register for our monthly CREATION Knowledge eJournal or get in touch, we’d love to help.

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Meet the Author

Jerin Thomas

Jerin has several years of experience working in life science and healthcare companies. He combines his passion for healthcare and problem solving to journey with clients through every step during a project and beyond.

As a new father, when the opportunity arises he loves to watch and play table tennis, football and tennis. He also enjoys cooking and spending quality time with family and friends.

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