Millbrook CORE to the Success of Annual Abbott Conference
Abbott approached Millbrook Medical Conferences in January to help plan and manage its annual CORE (Complete Revascularisation) conference.
Abbott, a global healthcare leader, approached Millbrook Medical Conferences in January to help plan and manage its annual CORE (Complete Revascularisation) conference in spring 2022. In its sixth year, CORE took place as a hybrid event at the Royal College of Physicians, London, from May 3–4.
With a lead time of just 10 weeks, CORE reached a global audience of over 1300 delegates representing several countries, including Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Poland. 145 delegates attended in person and around 1200 tuned in online.
Aimed at interventional cardiologists, interventional cardiology nurses, cath lab personnel, including nurses, technicians and radiographers, and interventional fellows, CORE 2022 takes place on an annual basis.
Through innovative lectures and live cases delivered by world-renowned experts, CORE demonstrates how we can optimise PCI outcomes, together as a community. In addition, CORE addresses the appropriate treatment pathway for patients and explores how to further improve outcomes by examining the latest clinical evidence, cutting-edge techniques and beyond the intervention.
The main objective for holding the conference was to demonstrate and discuss how interventional cardiologists of all levels and cath lab personnel can optimise PCI outcomes, together as a community.
Abbott’s educational objectives for CORE were:
Historically, Radcliffe Cardiology has worked on CORE as a digital partner, but Millbrook was brought on to take care of the in-person proceedings. Combined, the Millbrook team has over 80 years of event management experience and was perfectly positioned to ensure Abbott achieved the educational objectives of the conference.
Millbrook brought several services to CORE, including on-site conference support, delegate management, marketing and communications, financial planning and venue sourcing, to ensure that the event ran as smoothly as possible. In addition, Millbrook managed all live case transmissions and logistics such as travel, accommodation and catering.
The venue of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) was a natural choice for CORE. The Millbrook team have used the RCP on multiple occasions for Abbott meetings and Abbott favoured the set-up of the venue. That, paired with its location with respect to train stations and hotels for accommodation ticked all the boxes. Millbrook used The Wolfson Theatre, which seats approximately 300 delegates.
Course directors James Spratt, Adrian Banning, Evald Christiansen, Jonathan Hill and Colm Hanratty led the creation of a comprehensive programme which offered 12 category 1 CPD credits. The programme was broken down into four sessions, which spanned the two days, titled: Imaging and Physiology, Pre-procedural Planning, Challenges in Complex PCI and Beyond Intervention.
A mix of presentations and eight live cases from Mater Private Hospital, Aarhus University Hospital, St George’s Hospital, Royal Brompton Hospital and London Bridge Hospital, addressed the appropriate treatment pathway for patients in 2022. The conference also explored how to further improve patient outcomes by examining the latest clinical evidence, cutting-edge techniques and beyond the intervention. What’s more, all delegates were given a certificate of attendance.
Day one concluded with a barbecue, which Millbrook organised in conjunction with the RCP. The barbecue was well attended with all delegates enjoying the food, drink and opportunity to network.
CORE 2022 received an abundance of positive feedback on both its content and presentation. The specialist and engaging subject matters paired with the number of delegates in-person allowed attendees to have in-depth discussions with the faculty.
The survey for CORE was completed by 529 people. 61 people filled out the questionnaire in person at the RCP, while 468 people submitted their feedback online via the CORE website. The results show:
Of the 529 survey respondents, 406 people credited the topics, live cases, range of talks and opportunity to network.
When asked what the best aspect of the course was, one delegate said: “It covered a large area of interventional cardiology with application in daily practice,” while another commented on the “superb range of talks with engaging and enthusiastic presenters.”
Other comments included: “Live cases were very interesting,” “Level of content suited to all HCPs”, “I think sessions were appropriately timed and good mix (sic)” and “Outstanding course. Thank you to Millbrook and Abbott.”
Most notably, all delegates surveyed said they wanted to participate in future CORE meetings.
Millbrook looks forward to working with Abbott to produce more successful conferences in the New Year.
The British Cardiovascular Intervention Society (BCIS) returned to the London Hilton Metropole for its annual three-day conference Advanced Cardiovascular Intervention (ACI). Millbrook Medical Conferences (Millbrook) made ACI a meeting to remember, offering gamification and a wealth of opportunities to participate through a dedicated app and education dome. ACI featured 30 sessions comprising over 80 presentations, educating over 900 delegates.
Spanning across three days, BCIS’s flagship conference attracts approx. 900 attendees, with the majority attending the full three-day programme. It aims to bring interventional cardiologists across the nation together.
Millbrook’s involvement since 2004 has been integral to the growth of this conference from restyling the exhibition and thus increasing sponsorship significantly, reworking branding and design and improving communications across the board. With Millbrook’s input, new education platforms such as live case transmissions, simulator demonstrations and interactive patient case discussion groups have been introduced. Furthermore, Millbrook provides delegate and faculty logistical support for ACI.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ACI 2021 was held online. With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, ACI was given the green light to go ahead in springtime 2022. With ACI making a comeback in-person, Millbrook needed to deliver a memorable wow factor.
ACI aims to update cardiologists and healthcare professionals working in the field on all aspects of interventional cardiology through didactic state-of-the-art lectures, interactive angio review sessions and live cases.
Millbrook facilitated 30 sessions comprising 89 presentations. The conference space comprised of a main auditorium seating 900 delegates, where all presentations, live cases, debates and panel discussions took place. Other conference spaces housed breakout sessions where several sessions and meetings took place at any one time.
Two patient cases were transmitted live from hospitals in Scotland and Wales enabling real-time discussion and interaction with complex interventional cardiology procedures. In addition, two pre-recorded cases were shown during the conference.
An exhibition hall showcased 33 industry-sponsored booths. Six levels of sponsorship were available alongside extra sponsorship opportunities across other areas of the conference, securing additional funding and adding value to sponsors through increased visibility and more opportunity to receive return on their investment.
The conference included a dinner on the second evening seating 250 delegates in the main lecture hall.
Millbrook created, managed and populated a conference app which enabled live polling during debate sessions, shared programme information, and a treasure hunt game. The treasure hunt game involved delegates answering questions from across the conference to generate points, which added a sense of competition as a free BCIS membership for the following year was offered up as a prize. The app also provided evaluation forms for CPD certificates as well as sharing delegate, faulty and sponsor information to aid networking.
New for 2022, Millbrook thought up and implemented an Education Dome into the exhibition hall at ACI. An intimate venue, the inflatable dome seated 35 delegates and showcased industry-sponsored mini-talks during breaks and lunchtime, so that it did not distract people from the main meeting room, and, more importantly, the education. The dome was a hit with industry and delegates alike and aided in providing new opportunities for sponsors to showcase new devices and data, where they were unable to previously.
Returning as a face-to-face conference after COVID-19, ACI 2022 was a real success. The attendee feedback highlighted a thirst for in person meetings and networking. ACI 2022 received high praise for the range of topics covered, format and speaker line up. The survey for ACI 2022 was completed by 347 people.
The results show:
Commenting on the best part of ACI 2022, one delegate said: “Seeing everyone face to face and having very high-quality educational content.” Whilst another commented: “Meeting with colleagues and getting up to date with trials and practice. As always case presentations/angio reviews were excellent. Peter Ludman exceptional. Thanks to everyone involved.”
After a year of being virtual, ACI 2022 did not disappoint; a regular attendee shared the following feedback: “This is my 10th ACI meeting. Topics and speakers always real world, great collegiality and organisation. Good cases.”
A Twitter campaign for the conference resulted in 2.45 million impressions from over 1,000 tweets by 381 participants. See some Tweets from conference delegates:
“I remember the days of a half-empty main auditorium in years gone by. It’s a testament to the tireless work of @BCIS_uk Council, Adrian Banning, Simon Redwood & @MillbrookMed to bring the UK interventional community together in such numbers.”
Another Twitter user said “Fantastic #ACI2022 meeting. Enjoying every session! The app is great, current schedule and ability to submit feedback for CPD immediately -just brilliant. Congratulations to the Programme Committee, @BCIS, @MillbrookMed, @NickCurzen, @clare_12, and colleagues.”
For those unable to attend in-person, ACI was recorded and is now available to watch under the ‘On-Demand Education’ section of the BCIS website.
A regular client of Millbrook Medical Conferences (Millbrook), the Barts Interventional Group (B.I.G) based at Barts Heart Centre, London, aims to provide practical education and training events within interventional cardiology. Traditionally, B.I.G’s annual course, Advanced Cardiac Imaging Course (ACIC) had been delivered face-to-face in the capital, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented this from happening in 2021. Millbrook took the reins of ACIC three years ago. When Millbrook was assigned ACIC in 2019, it reported delegate numbers of 164. In 2021, however, ACIC attracted 362 delegates, an increase of 198.
Following the success of ACIC pre-pandemic and the e-Conference in 2020, Millbrook’s digital expertise were called upon once more by course directors Andreas Baumbach, Anthony Mathur, Daniel Jones and Didier Locca to deliver an excellent event in 2021.
Aimed at cardiovascular specialists and centres, ACIC focuses on recent, cutting-edge advances in cardiovascular imaging techniques linked to coronary and structural interventions.
The course directors led the creation of the programme which offered three category one external CPD credits. Throughout the immersive course, national and international thought leaders explored the latest state-of-the-art advances in imaging and their evidence-based applications in daily clinical practice.
With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, Millbrook created a bespoke, fully branded hub for ACIC through its customisable virtual conference platform, which provided delegates access to the live stream of the event and enabled them to visit sponsor exhibition pages, just like they would exhibition booths. Through the hub, attendees were able to download documents from the library and keep them together in an online personal briefcase and access Millbrook’s social media, giving them access to all the conversation surrounding the conference.
The event itself comprised pre-recorded presentations, a live keynote lecture from Ziad Ali MD and interactive panel discussion. Millbrook handled all the technical aspects, which meant that the speakers, including Ziad, could focus purely on their presentations.
Millbrook understands the challenges of maintaining audience engagement and participation with virtual courses, so its web-based platform allowed the faculty to incorporate new and imaginative ways to encourage this through online live polls, quizzes, Q&A and chat forums. These interactive elements used for ACIC allowed delegates to communicate with each other and ask questions to the faculty, as well as networking with industry representatives on their dedicated pages. Utilising such features created an interactive experience that was as close to a face-to-face event as possible.
Whilst the event was live, Millbrook monitored a help page for delegates who had queries regarding the platform as well as sitting in the ‘live stage’ room and the ‘green room’. This allowed Millbrook to be aware and responsive to every aspect of the course. Within the green room Millbrook briefed presenters before going live, which was extremely beneficial to them as it allowed them to ask any last-minute questions and to check all their audio-visual equipment was working as it should.
Millbrook’s web-based platform facilitated speakers from the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and the USA participating.
In addition, Millbrook also handled all the administration and logistics prior to the course, including registration and delegate management, faculty and sponsor liaison and funding.
In the lead up to the event, Millbrook created promotional material, including the programme, email marketing and dedicated social media campaigns, to build a sense of excitement and anticipation.
The e-Conference was well received with delegates providing positive feedback on both its content and presentation. The survey for the Advanced Cardiac Imaging Course was completed by 100 people and shows:
One delegate praised the appropriateness of the online ACIC and said: “Excellent virtual event in these times. Excellent broad range of speakers. Short sessions to keep interest”.
Other delegate feedback included: “Every presenter well prepared”, “Ease of access and open to everyone, excellent content”, “Timings kept well to schedule. Good mix of speakers and topics for different interests” and “Good organisation, interesting arguments.”
When asked what the best aspect of the course was, one delegate said: “Was very intrigued by the AI aspect of presentation and seeing how technology has advanced here,” while another commented: “I gained great insight on current techniques in cardiac imaging and enhanced my understanding on various procedures.”
The 12th Advanced Cardiac Imaging Course is now available to watch on the Millbrook Hub, which is home to a library of e-Conferences, webinars and recording of face-to-face meetings aimed at healthcare professionals. Users can login to their account by visiting https://www.millbrookhub.co.uk/mmc/login.
The 13th Advanced Cardiac Imaging Course is on the horizon and Millbrook looks forward to working with the Barts Interventional Group again. Again, the course will be virtual on Friday, 9 December 2022. Click here to register for the next Advanced Cardiac Imaging Course.
As COVID continued to restrict the amount of training and education that healthcare professionals were receiving, Millbrook Medical Conferences upgraded an annual, flagship, national society conference to an astonishing virtual, interactive bank of education and sharing of experiences to 850+ delegates.
A treasure hunt boosted engagement, industry interaction and competition. Content included ‘how-to’ tutorials, topic-specific sessions, acting scenarios and sponsor demonstrations. In addition, the event discussed difficult topics such as racial bias, sexism, and bullying head-on in new ways. The content will remain available online for new healthcare professionals as they join the specialty.
The British Cardiovascular Intervention Society’s three-day flagship annual scientific conference attracts approximately 1,000 attendees each year. Open to interventional cardiologists as well as allied health professionals, the meeting is the largest and most relevant educationally of its kind in the United Kingdom and the only focussed meeting offering a chance for everyone in this field of medicine, including industry, to network.
Leading up to January 2021, the British Cardiovascular Intervention Society (BCIS) was progressing as expected although this year, with the COVID pandemic still hovering, Millbrook was planning an e-conference with the hope that it might be able to have some faculty at a venue. As all event managers will have experienced, nothing is guaranteed during such a time.
Due to the huge spike in COVID cases over the Christmas period, it was decided, just three weeks before the conference was due to take place, that the conference should be postponed for three months. Most of the faculty and delegates were frontline workers and about to be transferred to support the ITU and respiratory physicians with the second wave. The Millbrook team knew that it wasn’t the right time for ACI to go ahead but recognised that the education was still very much needed, so should go ahead in spring.
Millbrook Medical Conferences (Millbrook) is the organising secretariat for BCIS and professional conference organiser (PCO) for BCIS meetings. Millbrook’s Managing Director, Fiona McDonald, was on the programme committee for BCIS’s ACI Virtual Experience, and therefore, was heavily involved in the topic selection, content creation and just as importantly, the delivery of the conference. Fiona’s previous experience as a medical secretary within the NHS and knowledge proved invaluable as Fiona was able to bring a fresh perspective to ACI.
The annual ACI (Advanced Cardiovascular Intervention) conference is part-funded by sponsorship from the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, and in return companies would traditionally have a booth within the exhibition hall, giving them the opportunity to network with delegates and generate new business. As such interaction was not possible virtually, Millbrook consulted with industry throughout the process to ensure the format offered value for money and ample opportunities to generate business. Through the process, Millbrook found that companies were not keen on the virtual format they had experienced at previous conferences and were struggling to engage with delegates at all. Posing a huge challenge for the PCO, Millbrook had to ensure that industry felt included and saw some return for their investment.
Millbrook thought up the idea of incorporating a ‘virtual treasure hunt’ to combat the challenges faced by industry representatives and ensure high engagement. Delegates were presented with various questions relating to every aspect of the conference, from the programme content to the sponsors and exhibition, and on-demand and live content.
Users were then directed to all areas of the e-conference to find the answers to the questions and for every correct answer they earned points. A public leader board was made available and the top three competitors had the opportunity to win an annual BCIS membership, worth up to £300.
The virtual treasure hunt resolved the issue of companies feeling like delegates were not connecting with their representatives and content. In addition, it added an element of fun and created a sense of suspense and competition to the e-conference. Overall, the virtual treasure hunt was a huge hit and received fantastic feedback from industry and delegates alike.
A prominent issue within interventional cardiology is the lack of women that work within the speciality, of all consultant cardiologists specialising in intervention, less than 6% are women. In response to this, BCIS created the Women in Cardiology Focus Group to explore and address the issue.
ACI 2021 marked one year since the group was created and for its debut group report to be presented to members. The President was keen to implement real change to address this, with Millbrook’s Fiona on the programme panel. A role-play session was created, there were three scenarios, each featuring a high-profile senior consultant cardiologist and a professional actor. The two were presented with a real-life scenario, whereby there is implied bullying, miscommunication, or sexism, and the two act out how they would behave in the situation. Regular time-outs were scheduled so both the cardiologist and actor could reflect on their behaviour and how they handled the situation, giving them the opportunity to analyse and improve as the conversations continued.
The videos were incredibly powerful, and the cardiologists involved said it gave a real insight into how to handle confrontation and how they can improve in their own scenarios moving forward. The sessions were praised by delegates for directly facing difficult topics and helping others to focus on the ‘softer-skills’ required for their roles, which are rarely taught and are essential for a high-functioning team.
The difficulty Millbrook and other PCO’s have experienced throughout the pandemic is how to take a three-day programme and create an engaging online experience with over 100 hours’ worth of content. Millbrook understands that people don’t have the same attention span for online-only events, but there was still so much to discuss that would be of high value to delegates. Originally, Millbrook was going to reduce the amount of content on offer and have live content over three half-days. However, there had been no education for a year, and so much had changed that Millbrook quickly realised the three days would be essential.
In total there were three tracks of content; one track was live, and the others were available on-demand. In addition, there was an exhibition hall, social media wall, chat forum, treasure hunt and much more. It was a risk to include so much information, but it was a risk that most certainly paid off, as Millbrook saw with the outstanding feedback received. The format allowed delegates to focus on the content they needed most, and the variety kept delegates engrossed.
Dr Gavin Galasko, ACI delegate and consultant cardiologist at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said:
“I don’t normally spontaneously volunteer feedback, but can I just say I thought ACI was excellent this year and that the virtual experience ran brilliantly.
“I thought it worked well and all the chairs did a brilliant job running each session virtually. I really enjoyed it. Well done everyone involved.”
Dr Shrilla Banerjee, chair of Women in Interventional Cardiology Focus Group and consultant cardiologist, added:
“Amazing three days! Thank you @MillbrookMed for transforming our #BCISACI meeting to a virtual platform to allow us to discuss important areas such as bias, INOCA, training issues, TAVI, stroke thrombectomy, OOHCA, trial data and Women in Interventional Cardiology!”
Dr Lavinia Gabara, cardiology fellow, commented:
“Fantastic news! #BCISACI has really taken things to another level.
“In addition to clinical up-dates and fantastic cases, sessions focused on ‘soft skills’, bullying, sexism and WIC…and I am still exploring! I think all cardiologists should check it out!”
Plus, on the first day of BCIS ACI, Science Pulse, a social listening tool designed to bridge the gap between journalists and scientists within social media platforms, tweeted that the top hashtags used by the scientific community in English tweets in the last 12 hours had been #COVID19, #BCISACI, #SARSCOV2, #EARTHDAY2021.
In addition, the more immediate impact of ACI Virtual Experience 2021 conference is shown by the analytics offered within the e-conference platform:
The adoption rate was particularly impressive. For many attendees, the conference registration is included within their annual subscription to BCIS and all content would be available on-demand after the event. With other ‘free’ e-conferences, Millbrook has seen an average of 50% adoption rate for a variety of reasons. To see such a high adoption rate is testament to the content included and promised to attendees within the lead up the event.
The ACI Virtual Experience 2021 also made history within BCIS for having the first ever all female panel discussing a session. Over the years, there had been many all-male panels, and over-representation of men within the faculty, but last year, ACI was different. Whilst there are far fewer women working within interventional cardiology than men, the programme group worked hard to ensure there was female representation across all sessions and including prominent roles within the conference.
In early December 2020, B.R.A.I.N (Barts Research and Advanced Interventional Neuroradiology) was run as a virtual conference for the first time ever. With the pandemic taking hold of the world, Millbrook Medical Conferences (Millbrook) transformed what was planned as a face-to-face conference in central London to an e-Conference.
The four-day e-Conference, B.R.A.I.N, took place from December 7-10 and was a real success. With only a three-month lead time, B.R.A.I.N reached a global audience of just under 900 delegates representing 35 countries.
Course directors and interventional neuroradiologists Dr Paul Bhogal, Dr Levansri Makalanda and Dr Ken Wong, approached Millbrook with the idea of organising the annual B.R.A.I.N conference.
The conference would welcome neuroradiologists, endovascular neurosurgeons and allied health professionals from all over the world. With a national and international faculty gathering under one roof to provide education on several topics, including stroke, aneurysms and new technology via in-person and virtual participation.
COVID-19 and government restrictions meant that B.R.A.I.N could not go ahead in-person as the trio had originally envisaged. Nevertheless, Millbrook Medical Conferences made sure that B.R.A.I.N 2020 still went ahead – but with a virtual format.
Millbrook utilised its dedicated web-based platform for the e-Conference, which offered a whole host of interactive features, whilst being user-friendly, eye-catching, and easy to access regardless of the user’s device and location. Sponsor exhibition pages, a social media hub and document libraries gave attendees access to a wealth of information and ensured continued engagement throughout the duration of the conference.
A chat function and Q&A boards were added to give two-way interaction for the delegates with the Q&A system moderated by Millbrook.
Millbrook worked closely with the 60-strong global faculty to ensure that they were all comfortable with the streaming platform and delivering live presentations. Millbrook preparations included arranging speaker briefings, creating training documents, and filming and editing 16 pre-filmed talks.
With more than 70 presentations spanning across the four days, each day focussed on a single topic, including stroke, aneurysms and embryology, phylogeny, AVM and DAVF. As the presentations were delivered by an international faculty comprising 60 speakers from 16 different countries, working across multiple time zones was pivotal to the success of the e-Conference.
In addition, Millbrook implemented a virtual green room for the speakers to access ahead of going live, which allowed them to familiarise themselves with the platform, ask questions, and prepare for the live conference itself. The virtual green room worked extremely well, putting the presenters and producers of the live stream at ease.
Commenting on the usefulness of the virtual green room, Dr Paul Bhogal, said:
“The virtual platform was so easy to access and navigate and the presentations were all very clear and streamed to perfection.
“Millbrook’s inclusion of a green room for virtual presenters to test before going live was an excellent addition.”
Good communication with the speakers was vital in the lead-up to the e-Conference, with Millbrook sending out reminders one week, one day, and one hour prior to going live, as well as obtaining back-ups of all presentations in case of any technical glitches.
As well as organising the e-Conference, Millbrook managed all the registrations, delegate queries, faculty and sponsor liaison and funding.
In the run up to B.R.A.I.N, Millbrook took over the @brainconferenc1 Twitter account and utilised its own @MillbrookMed channel to share engaging and relevant social media posts to build a sense of anticipation for the e-Conference. Millbrook leveraged email marketing, too, to encourage further registrations.
The e-conference received a wealth of positive feedback on both its content and format. The survey for the inaugural B.R.A.I.N conference was completed by 313 people.
The results show:
When asked what the best aspect of the e-conference was, one delegate said:
“High-quality lectures, with very interesting subjects. The possibility to watch the lectures at a later time is also warmly welcomed.”
Another delegate commented:
“The wide range of medical and technological advancements that have been presented in the context of case-based discussions was quite interesting for a foundation level doctor like myself.”
Other delegate feedback included:
“The best aspect was the availability to all students/doctors worldwide, online and free. Also, the organization was good and the topics, thank you.”
“Very organized, ease of asking questions, great selection of speakers.”
Taking to Twitter, one attendee said: “Fantastic conference guys, well done. Looking forward to 2021”, while another commented: “Great conference, excellent organisation!”.
Other comments included: “B.R.A.I.N @brainconferenc1 2020 was an amazing conference. I hope to participate it in person 2021!” and “Been the best virtual meeting of the year by miles, very well organised.”
Millbrook is looking forward to working with Dr Paul Bhogal, Dr Levansri Makalanda and Dr Oli Spooner for B.R.A.I.N 2022, which following the success of the e-Conference, will be held as a hybrid event.
The Imperial College COVID-19 Cardiovascular Conference was the first interventional cardiology educational webinar focussed on the presentation of COVID-19 in cardiac patients. With just a 10-day lead time and no funding, Millbrook produced a four-hour webinar comprising 27 presentations and 31 live speakers from the UK and around the world.
The webinar generated 5,600 unique live delegates worldwide. It’s since received 3,694 on-demand views – a total of 9,294 healthcare professionals having been educated by this endeavour. Moreover, the content helped shape the management of COVID-19 within cardiology globally, educating clinicians on the best way to treat and manage cardiac disease in the COVID-19 patient.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of cardiologists at Imperial College London realised the need to share information on a global level to understand the best practices in managing COVID-19 in patients.
Millbrook, a recognised PCO with a reputation for leading cardiovascular conferences across the UK, was contacted on March 24, 2020 – a day after the country went into lockdown – to work in partnership with Imperial College to execute a global educational webinar.
The webinar would bring together leading practitioners from Europe and the USA to educate healthcare professionals on the manifestation of coronary artery disease in patients suffering from coronavirus as well as those patients with pre-existing coronary artery disease.
As the rate of infection was increasing rapidly, time was of the essence. Millbrook was advised that for the event to have any effect, it would need to take place before April 2, 2020, giving Millbrook a ten-day window to execute its first webinar.
The ten-day timeframe was important to the objectives and mission because the information regarding COVID-19 was very quickly becoming granular. Information needed to be shared fast and a pro-active approach needed to be taken to share experiences and help to shape the way clinicians around the world dealt with COVID-19.
Millbrook’s main objectives were to create an interactive, easy to join webinar with a global reach of healthcare professionals – in particular cardiologists, where respiratory care was going to be critical in saving lives.
Once live, the webinar needed to be highly engaging, visual and collaborative, allowing for audience participation and Q&A.
Millbrook’s role included marketing the webinar to generate a global audience, preparing a comprehensive programme, technical testing with all speakers and management of delegates. With an extensive programme, this technical webinar had to run seamlessly.
The four-hour programme featured four sessions, 27 presentations and 31 faculty. Whilst the programme focussed predominantly on experiences from Imperial College London which, at the time, was experiencing a high proportion of COVID-19 cases in the UK, the conference was a global collaboration.
The programme featured high-profile consultant cardiologists in New York, Minnesota and Milan, as well as the deputy clinical director of Nightingale Hospital Excel, which was preparing to accept its first patient at the time. This would be the first sharing of experiences between doctors in the UK, Europe and the US on how to treat the manifestation of cardiovascular disease in patients who have COVID-19.
Talks would compare the experiences of different countries in two ways, firstly by explaining the impact COVID-19 was having on their hospitals and cities, as well as comparing the approaches taken by governments and healthcare systems and how this impacted their approach and success in managing the disease. It was a race against time to save patients’ lives, so it was important to learn from doctors who had already been treating these patients before COVID hit its peak in the UK.
Due to the urgency of the situation, the nature of the information to be shared and the higher purpose of the event, no company or individual took a fee for the work involved. This also meant there was no budget for any aspect of the webinar. So, when Millbrook looked to select a platform for the webinar, Microsoft Teams was the obvious choice incurring no platform costs and able to accommodate the numbers of participants that were expected.
Whilst individuals could register for the conference ahead of the event, using Microsoft Teams meant anyone could join by clicking a single link. This removed all barriers to entry, helping to maximise the number of attendees, whilst also giving some visibility to who the individuals were and where they were in the world.
Given the significance of the experiences that were to be shared, a global marketing campaign needed to be prepared quickly.
Millbrook needed to generate a significant global audience of cardiology physicians to ensure the information shared would be relevant and impactful. Millbrook utilised all its internal and external marketing resources and contacts. The first objective was to take advantage of its comprehensive database of UK and European cardiologists and healthcare professionals. The team then approached its industry contacts to share the details of the webinar with their overseas colleagues.
In addition, Millbrook asked leading cardiology associations and societies around the world to share the webinar through their various platforms to their audiences. Such activity would usually incur a significant marketing spend, which Millbrook made clear was not available on this occasion. Nobody declined Millbrook’s request. The generosity of its colleagues in the UK and overseas resulted in a saving of over £12,000 in marketing fees.
The programme format did not follow the usual webinar structure. A four-hour webinar, with 31 speakers giving their presentation live, is no mean feat. It’s also important to note that many of the speakers hadn’t delivered a presentation in this way before and weren’t familiar with the technology. This combination could have led to technical difficulties on the day. To ensure a seamless live stream, Millbrook performed pre-webinar tests with each speaker to ensure their confidence and competence. This created its own challenges, as the speakers were all front-line physicians with hectic schedules.
Millbrook took the time to ensure that all 31 speakers became confident using Microsoft Teams as well as presenting their presentations on the live webinar.
Every minute within the extensive programme was accounted for and as such there was no margin for error or hesitation. From a production, management and organisation perspective, this made the webinar extremely intricate and required fine-tuned management. It was inevitable that with such a large faculty there would be constant messaging between the production team and speakers, a great deal of technical assistance required, live Q&A management, not to mention the fact that the presenters were rotating regularly, sometimes every five minutes. Though the production was tense, this did not translate to viewers with the webinar remaining unified and professional from beginning to end.
As a PCO, Millbrook measured the success of the event in the following ways: through the number of attendees and the duration of their attendance, the global reach of attendees, the quality of education provided, the execution of the webinar and its content – especially in the timeframe allowed – and finally attendee interaction and feedback.
In total, the webinar received 5,600 unique live viewers from around the world including the USA, Italy, China, Sweden, Morocco, Germany, Korea, Nepal, Russia, Poland, Brazil, Lithuania, Australia and India.
The impact of the education on delegates and the cardiology community was clear, as seen by the comments that were seen on Twitter about the webinar. A selection of which are below:
@misterspaceman7 on Twitter (Dennis Sandeman, Cardiology Nurse Consultant, NHS Fife) said:
“Seriously fantastic conference, lots of useful information and showcased just what can be done with teamwork. Congratulations to all.”
@SukhNijjer on Twitter (Sukh Nijjer, Consultant Cardiologist, Imperial College London), added:
“Thank you to @MillbrookMed for putting this together at short notice and making it available to everyone for free.”
@Agershlick on Twitter (Anthony Gershlick, Consultant Cardiologist, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester) commented: “Congrats to your team-well organised pertinent and great education.”
@DR_Stig on Twitter (Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, University Hospital Southampton), concluded: “An excellent webinar. Well done for organising this – very informative.”