While medical conferences represent the foremost platform for the dissemination of cutting-edge data and presentation of practice-changing results, the majority of oncologists are not able to attend these meetings. Schedule constraints, lack of funding, need for family time, and other commitments keep physicians from attending these highly important meetings. According to a recent survey, as many as 61% of practicing physicians are unable to regularly attend medical conferences. Those who are able to carve time out of their busy lives are faced with the challenge of data overload. Concurrent sessions, competing meetings, and rapid-fire presentations make it impossible to attend every presentation and hear every important data release.
One valuable tool offered by independent medical education (IME) providers is in-depth, bias-free coverage of major medical conferences. Conference coverage provides an invaluable tool for physicians to stay updated on the most recent data. For physicians who are not able to attend, the rapid dissemination of information presented at society meetings allows them to remain aware of the latest development in their fields and stay current with their colleagues. For physicians who do attend these meetings, conference coverage offers the opportunity to revisit the most important presentations, hear the opinions and insights of noted experts, and reflect on how these new data may impact their practice.
Massive amounts of new data are presented each fall at major society meetings such as those held annually by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and American Society for Hematology (ASH). It is difficult for physicians to sift through every abstract and presentation to find the most important and clinically relevant updates. Thoughtfully developed IME conference coverage highlights the presentations that are of greatest interest to practicing physicians, and provides the added benefit of expert opinion and insight. Often, it is difficult to truly understand the importance or practical implications of new data, but post-meeting coverage allows trusted experts in the field review and explain presentations from society meetings, discussing how these data may influence patient care.
A final benefit of conference coverage is that it gives the learner time to reflect and consider the impact of new data on their practice, a luxury that is not available during a conference presentation. Presentations at society meetings happen quickly, with the goal of providing as much data as possible in an extremely limited timeframe. Because of the short time for presentation and the number of trials presented in a day, attendees can very quickly become overwhelmed, forget key points, and have limited ability to apply new information to practice. Conference coverage allows them the opportunity to revisit data at their own pace and fully consider the practical implications. Ultimately, conference coverage improves the chances that the data presented at a society meeting will reach from presenter to physician to patient and actually improve patient care.