The first digital edition of the annual congress of ophthalmologist surgeons was scheduled and personalised following members preferences and recorded a great success.
For an association as AICCER, the Italian Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, which has been collaborating with AIM Group since several years, the importance of face-to-face discussion is crucial at educational and annual events, but the pandemic forced to completely review their events plan.
“Scientific associations are responding to the social distancing and events limitations with new projects, innovating their social programs and pivoting new formats, trying to transform the limits into opportunities” explains Rosangela Quieti, managing director Congress Division AIM Group International.
In 2020 they decided to cancel the annual conference and transform it into threewebinars which were really appreciated with a high attendance (800/1.000 participants). When planning the annual conference 2021 they decided to realise a full digital event completely personalised according to members preferences.
Thanks to a dedicated survey, it was decided to hold the event in the right scheduled time for physicians, when they could really be available to participate, so Friday evening (just 1 hour), Saturday and Sunday morning, for a total of 8 hours of education given by 80 speakers. Then, since the discussion and the possibility to interact and freely chat on complex clinical cases and surgeries is crucial, to avoid technical setback, 70% of speeches were pre-recorded and broadcasted with a live discussion always available afterwards, with live polling, chat box and Q&A.
The 3D platform, reproducing a real conference center with a clear user journey, hosted also an expo area where sponsors could share their content or meet participants in arranged appointments; the communication opportunities for sponsors were varied and included also banners, video commercials, welcome messages, and a virtual conference bag.
The event had a very good attendance rate, with 1.200 registered participants, in line with previous in-person events, but overall, the association was really satisfied with the interaction and engagement from the participants and the high level of scientific content shared, beyond the expectations.
“Transforming an in-person congress into a virtual one was really challenging, but the quality of content and the speakers ensured we could succeed, keeping also the time schedule perfectly ... thanks to AIM Group which, working behind the scenes, provided us with a fundamental contribution to the success of the event” said Paolo Vinciguerra, president AICCER.
The digital environment could also offer the opportunity to realise in an easy way new communication channels. AICER for example promoted the constitution of an Advisory Board along with GIVRE (Italian Group of Vitreoretinal Surgery) and Senior Italia Federanziani (National Association of Elder People), to realise a series of virtual meetings with Public Institutions such as EU and regional Governments, about the backlog of ophthalmic surgeries and treatments due to the Covid emergency.