While we were optimistic that our relatively intimate Fall conference would be possible, come October, the Health Professions Network's Board of Directors has had to make the difficult decision to cancel our planned, in-person conference in favor of a virtual conference. This decision comes with a number of virtual conference innovations which will ensure an engaging, interactive and inclusive experience for our attendees.
Like with telehealth, we know that the virtual conference format comes with benefits as well as drawbacks, but we're focused on the bright side—seeing this as an opportunity to expand our reach, convene with a wider range of professionals in your organizations and in your fields, and invite participation from truly outstanding speakers and guests.
We received excellent feedback on our Spring virtual conference series, but we know we still have room to improve, make the experience more engaging and seamless, invite more live participation from our speakers and attendees, and tackle up-to-the-minute topical issues affecting our work and our professions. Along with the Board, we've outlined a number of virtual conference innovations which we believe will do just that:
- Recorded presentations, live interaction: We'll be recording our speakers' presentations ahead of time, so we can ensure a technically seamless experience during the conference, and so our speakers' can focus on engaging with attendees via live chat.
- A broadcast experience: A related focus—we're not relying on the limitations and differing user experiences of a webinar or teleconferencing platform; we'll be producing the conference series like a broadcast, allowing for an ideal and shared viewing experience and professional transitions between presentations, Q&A, and interactive & social games.
- Live interactivity: Not only will our speakers be focused on answering live, our attendees and speakers' live chat will be an integrated part of the broadcast—showing up not in a separate chat box but on the shared view screen. Plus, we'll be able to drop in links for live voting, show results directly on screen, conduct live prize drawings, and even play interactive games with each other—from our phones!
- Pay what's fair: We want as many individuals and organizations as possible to participate and enrich our virtual experience, so we've adopted a pay-what-it's-worth-to-you model for this conference series.
Join the Health Professions Network for our Fall Conference, virtually! Pay what you think is fair based on your planned participation for you and your colleagues to attend a three-day virtual conference with two-to-four hours of keynote speakers, sessions, collaborative discussions and networking events with HPN leaders, members and fellow attendees! We're so excited to connect!
Our schedule and sessions have yet to be confirmed. Our primary focus is on lining up truly outstanding speakers on issues exceedingly topical and relevant to our new normal. In a series of blogs beginning next week, we'll be covering a number of the issues, straight from headlines, affecting healthcare and health professions with an even greater breadth than we have in the past, as we organize our conference days around not one topic but a variety of concrete issues shaping the new normal in healthcare: issues like health equity, telehealth, health care reform, workforce flexibility and more.
But, of course, we're excited to experiment with these virtual conference innovations and improve on the virtual experience—which should provide you takeaways for your own virtual events!
In addition, the Board also moved to launch an HPN members-only webinar series which will focus on topics relevant to healthcare association professionals and our members' professional development—topics like best practices for conducting virtual events! This may take a different format from our larger virtual conference series, but will also allow us to experiment, share new ideas and provide a proof of concept for our new virtual format.
If you're interested in networking and professional development with fellow association professionals in healthcare organizations, specifically, consider joining the Health Professions Network to ensure you're invited to our upcoming, members-only webinars.
We're very excited to confirm topics, speakers and dates for all of these upcoming virtual events - please stay tuned for more from the Health Professions Network!