The annual meeting of the European Hypertension Society has been realised in Athens combining 2.000 participants in person with another 2.000 online.
The most recent editions of the ESH Annual Meeting have been so different to normal. The last in-person edition took place in Milan in 2019. The 2020 congress was cancelled due to the pandemic, while the 2021 edition was fully virtual.
In 2022, ESH decided to organise the event in Athens using a hybrid format. This gave physicians from low-income countries or with limitations to travel the chance to easily attend the online version, while guaranteeing the European community the chance to meet in person again.
“This choice was the right one with almost 2.000 participants registered on site in Greece and another 2.000 online delegates following remotely. It is a very satisfying result, considering that the pandemic and the travel limitations are still ongoing. The hybrid option allowed more people from different countries to attend. 20% of remote delegates came from Asia and the Far East. India and China ranked in the top ten countries followed by Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Romania and Poland. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian war also had an impact. No Russian, Ukrainian nor Belarus doctors were present in Athens” explains Maddalena Massaro, Business Manager of AIM Group.
AIM Group, which has organised the ESH meeting since its first edition in 1982, also managed the online version. The AIM Phygital Platform provided a completely customised, interactive and multifunctional virtual congress hub.
Participants were able to easily access the congress, navigate the platform and explore the scientific program. They were able to save their favourite sessions in a personalised agenda, visit the sponsor area, consult the sponsor documents and videos, discover the e-posters, contact the faculty, chat with other participants in a lounge area and watch the shared content on the social wall.
All the education sessions were broadcast live during the congress and are available on demand for the next three months for all the registered participants (including the in-person ones).
The online event was as rich as the in-person edition, which counted 126 congress sessions including the plenary, break-outs, workshops, working groups, meet-the-expert sessions, clinical case studies, ‘how-to’ sessions -; 360 speakers (one third connected remotely); 12 sponsored symposia; 23 sponsors in the 400sqm-exhibition area; and 14 joint sessions realised in collaboration with other scientific societies, from other regions of the world (India, Korea, Latin America, United States, etc.).
“The ESH Annual Meeting has a long tradition which has been made possible by its strong European scientific community. In the last few years, it has expanded its geographical scope and started to involve other scientific communities like the Chinese and Indian Hypertension Societies which has helped give freshness to the event. The 2022 meeting has also left a strong digital footprint, with the first hybrid edition, while. ESH’s social media has continued to attract more followers. As pointed out by Maddalena Massaro, Business Manager of AIM Group “having a long tradition does not have to be synonymous with getting old”.