Running a clinical trial can often feel like a juggling act, balancing the needs of patients with the quality of data that will help drug development succeed. Communication within the industry is therefore vital, and conferences provide the perfect platform for sponsors, suppliers and attendees to keep in touch and up to date with the latest technologies, trends and processes. As the conference calendar begins to populate with these almost forgotten ‘live’ events, it’s time to reflect on the lasting impact of virtual conferences, and take a glimpse at what to look forward to when returning to face-to-face meetings.
Return to the NEW normal
While virtual events were not a novel idea pre-2020, the COVID-19 pandemic certainly accelerated their acceptance and widespread application, ensuring these formats are here to stay, whether as completely virtual events or hybrid models. They are environmentally friendly and cost effective, and their accessibility makes them inclusive for anyone with an internet connection – which is basically everyone in the industry. However, as we welcome the return of live conferences in 2022, the advantages of face-to-face interaction – and doing business the traditional way – become apparent, rekindling the excitement that comes with it.
Trust – the fundamental building block
It can be challenging in the virtual world to gain trust, which is where live conferences provide the opportunity for meaningful conversations that can make a difference. Online, people are generally less inclined to provide the finer details of what they are looking for, or to open up about the fundamentals of a problem. This makes it harder – though never impossible – to dive deep and alleviate those pressures. And even though we have all dramatically improved our digital communication and personalities, online channels will always feel more business-y compared to a coffee – or apéro – where new relationships are easily forged, and old ones nurtured.
Back to school
Ultimately, conferences are intended to educate and, although that can be done online, being around your peers will always provide the blueprint for a unique learning environment. From a vendor’s perspective, the team at Woodley Trial Solutions is looking forward to getting back to the basics: demonstrating, probing, taking feedback, and sharing the latest products and services that can help clinical trials. Novel technologies continue to evolve and improve the industry, and it’s our job to make sure they are known and widely used to help drive drug development and improve patient outcomes.
Conferences also allow for an element of serendipity; a chance viewing of a new device, machine or technology on an exhibition stand that could hold the key to resolving your seemingly unsurmountable problems. This simply isn’t possible in a virtual setting, and news of the release of a game-changing device or solution can easily get lost in the noise of a digital environment.
A conscientious approach
Needless to say, conference organizers are approaching these events with more than a pinch of caution, and they are doing everything to ensure they are safe and compliant. Expect the standard formalities we’ve become accustomed to – proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test and compulsory mask wearing – to help protect visitors and improve attendance rates.
Virtual conferences have played a vital cameo during the pandemic, and have staked their claim to a permanent position on the future playing field. However, as we welcome the return to a ‘new normal’, we are here and ready to listen, absorbing what our customers need and responding with how we can better support them.
During February 2022 we are exhibiting at the below conferences. If you are attending, please come and say hello.
Scope Summit: 8th-9th February; Orlando, FL | Booth #815
OCT West Coast: 15th-16th February; Burlingame, CA | Booth #55
To arrange a meeting with us, please get in touch:
Senior Vice President, Global POC Solutions
Tel: +1 800 471 9200
Business Development Specialist, Global POC Solutions
Tel: +1 800 471 9200
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