Over the past ten years, NetworkPharma has provided a substantial number of conferences and networking opportunities for the MedComms community – the community of professionals in the UK and abroad who specialise in medical communication, publishing and education.
Like many other sectors, MedComms networking has changed substantially over the past decade, with much of the activity shifting to online platforms. Regardless, a core part of NetworkPharma’s work remains arranging meetings, getting people together to share information and talk to one another. These meetings range from a dozen participants to 100.
The Challenge – Doing more for less
NetworkPharma is essentially a one man operation, run by managing director Peter Llewellyn. Due to its limited resources and funding, Peter is constantly looking for simple and inexpensive solutions and tools that will allow him to do more with less. As many professionals in the pharmaceutical industry are accustomed to lavish events supported by generous budgets, the use of innovative yet intuitive technology has become a pillar of NetworkPharma’s events.
NetworkPharma was an early adopter of Lumi’s technology, specifically the IML Connector. These devices encourage the audience to participate in presentations and share their opinions via polls or texting through the IML Connector’s built-in keypad. It also makes Q&A sessions run much more smoothly than otherwise possible, as the devices put a microphone in the hands of each audience member.
While Peter says he was happy with using the IML Connector, the issue of budget was always a challenge, one which he was constantly hoping to reduce.
The Solution – Keeping the audience engaged with Meetoo
While NetworkPharma was aware of meetings apps that would allow guests to provide their own devices, and would therefore reduce the cost of running events, Peter admits that he was sceptical of their practicality. This all changed earlier this year, when he saw the Meetoo app in action.
“I’ve seen quite a number of instances where [meetings apps] don’t work in practice because people just can’t be bothered to download them or they don’t know how their smartphone works – what ends up happening is organisers give out 100 iPads with the app preloaded, because they have the resources to do so,” Peter says. “One of the groups I work with had gone with the Meetoo app and the tipping point for me was that they estimated 70 per cent of the people at the meeting had engaged with the app. What that said to me was that enough of the people in my community were willing to turn up to a meeting knowing how their smartphones work and would download the app and join in.”
Meetoo allows audiences to interact with presentations instantly, through a variety of devices, via text responses and multiple choice polls. It also allows moderators to push information to their audiences without delay and collect valuable information to be used either at meetings or afterwards. Such functionality is crucial for groups like NetworkPharma who rely on audience engagement for Q&A sessions and other presentations. Attracted to the functionality and cost-savings it could deliver to meetings, Peter decided he would use the Meetoo app at every NetworkPharma event over the next year.
The Results – An effective and affordable solution
With the issue of cost taken care of, the only issue left was effectiveness and usability.
“Meetoo is easily the simplest meeting app that I have had experience with,” says Peter. “It downloads very quickly and it’s very simple for people to get involved with. I’m easily getting a majority of the people in my audiences engaging with it now.”
At a recent NetworkPharma event of 65 people, for example, 45 guests were using the Meetoo app to interact with the polls. Another benefit the app has had over NetworkPharma’s previous solution is that it allows for the audience to continue engaging and asking questions even after the event is over, with Peter saying he’ll often receive messages on the app while he’s on his way home. As the MedComms becomes more exposed to the Meetoo app, more guests are arriving with the app already installed on their smartphones, reducing the amount of time Peter has to spend giving a tutorial at the beginning of NetworkPharma events.
“I’m trying to get to the stage where I don’t have to go through my blurb at the beginning of each activity, which at this point I feel is very achievable, though it wouldn’t be if I were using a tailored app for each event,” says Peter. “The whole success of these events depends on the audience’s ability to interact. In my experience, the Meetoo app has proven to be very simple and effective at what it does.”