This photo previews a mockup of an app interface used for a client.

By Michelle Wolfson, MSc

Conferences serve as a platform for our clients to share news updates and promote education on their drug development and therapeutic areas. These conferences allow for industry development and growth, in part, through data dissemination and knowledge shared by thought leaders.

Historically, many companies have used a paper-based format for conference organization and communication to on site participants. Materials have included disseminated binders and printed announcement emails—a “push” system where information is broadcasted to the receiver. Others have moved to a cloud system, shared slide decks, and intranets. These methods employ a “pull” system of information access, where the content is available to users and they retrieve it from a centralized location. However, technology has progressed to a point where using a custom digital app is a best practice for conference organization. The static nature of print or retrieval systems is enhanced by the interactive nature of a customized digital app.

Although many attributes of digital apps have been applauded by users in post evaluation surveys and conversations, two main topics (and several features within these topics) are often praised:

Better Organization:

  • Document repository – each user can be granted access to different documents that are tailored to their roles and responsibilities at the conference
  • “My Agenda” – features personalized sessions the user is assigned to/desires to attend
    • “For the first time I didn’t need to print things out!”
  • Thought leader engagement – meeting schedules and discussion topics with advisors can be recorded and not duplicated across the company

Improved Communication and Collaboration:

  • Employee profiles – clients may have numerous employees on site at a conference from various departments and levels of the company. These employees may have never met before. The app can include contact information and biographies of the employees on site to decrease misperceptions when meeting new colleagues
  • Thought leader profiles – this feature can extend to biographies for various KOLs specific to each disease state of interest
  • Networking – Participants can message each other directly within the app and schedule meetings/rooms through the app interface

In summary, digital apps allow for the dispersion of logistical and strategic information combined with an interactive communication method. Using digital apps can help maximize the reach and impact of a conference experience for both our clients and conference attendees.