Health News And Healthcare Tips

Ideas for Adding Value to Healthcare Conferences DURING the Event

Ideas for Adding Value to Healthcare Conferences DURING the Event

Smart healthcare conference organizers are evolving their events to provide a greater range of value to a wider range of people – both physically present at a venue and also remotely located.


In part one of this now four-part series recapping the Health Information Technology Social Media (#HITsm) tweetchat of April 13th, I shared information about what chat participants thought healthcare conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees can do BEFORE a conference to make their event more valuable. 

In this second post, I’ll share about half of the insight, ideas and comments shared by tweet chat participants about what conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees can do DURING a healthcare conference to increase overall value for everyone involved. There are just too many good ideas to include in one post – without turning this into a War & Peace length post. 

Note: To make it easy on the reader – and most importantly ME – I’ve removed all the Twitter handles, hashtags and, in less than a handful of instances, corrected a few tweets to make them easier to read. You can read the entire, verbatim transcript here.


Should Healthcare Hosts Have a Hashtag?

A well promoted and used hashtag on Twitter has been the best I’ve seen. The problem many conferences have is not promoting their hashtag well.

Include Twitter handle as a start. if they don’t have, organizer should set up. Tweet out deck, so all can follow including any linked videos.

Using hashtags, simultaneous Twitter chats or live (fb or periscope or YouTube) chats, also having time for q/a with presenters after their session on stage, so chat with the online participants, posting interviews from attendees and exhibitors is helpful too

This is such a great thing to do. Many conferences don’t have a great hashtag which is a shame since it can build community.

I’ve recently learned that a well-placed hashtag is amazingly effective! I’m a late bloomer?

We’ve talked about a lot of them. Clear conference hashtags. Sub-hashtags for specific topics or sessions. (Notice how this is very Twitter heavy?)

What about those who are only on LinkedIn and beyond? Central place on a conference website, too. Or LinkedIn group.

Hashtag Printer Draws in the Social Crowd


People love to share photos, especially when they’re in them. I think @StudioNorthUSA eBook shared idea of a hashtag printer? People upload selfies with event hashtag, then swing by booth to get a branded print-out. 

I think that https://t.co/3QRT9Y9ccI is an example of this Hashtag printer idea.

YEP!!! We love our @TagPrints partners! They do GREAT event photo activations!!!!!

Yep! That was a great way to draw people to the booth! Acted like a virtual crowd gatherer!

Bonus: When organizers don’t use Social Media. The worst is when they’re no official hashtag & attendees are tweeting so many variations of the “official” hashtag that it’s impossible to follow conversations. You miss great commentary w/ too many rogue hashtags.


Healthcare Conferences Need Engaging Speakers & Exhibitors


Conferences need to be a place where failure can be discussed & celebrated. Especially true as patients are now designers. 


So true – People are hesitant to talk about failures, but if they don’t other may make the same mistakes! 

Talking about consumers/patients/people without having anyone normal (outside the industry) in the room

Presentations, engage with actionable items in other projects throughout the year that draw learners back to the great resources presented, and keep the convo growing/going

Larry Chu has a great saying “if it’s not broke, break it”. As a patient storyteller I don’t think we have reached the full potential of SoMe yet. We can break PowerPoints w/o reinventing the world

Engaging attendees on social, and providing event-specific landing pages are also to create different opportunities

It’s amazing how many conference organizers don’t appreciate that their sponsors can add value to conference attendees.

This is a hard question. Really depends on type of presentation. Ultimately, a common theme I like is make it practical. How can I apply topic to what I’m doing?


Healthcare Content Shared at Conferences Must Be Easy to Consume – And Visual


Sometimes I will say at the beginning of a talk that I will share a link to a text-heavy version of my slides at the end of the talk (my slides are always pictures and few words) so people can listen and live-tweet or whatever. Never share text in advance.

A presenter who didn’t kick off her presentation by reading directly from her slides but rather sung the intro material from the first few slides to the attendees. Sort of a “PowerPoint Karaoke’ if you will.

Agree. Astute conference goers often don’t window shop, but are drawn in by value or resources you can deliver to their organization

Self-described data geek, I always appreciate when presenters share insights grounded in data and research. A “teach-me-how-to-fish” session is always appreciated. Take for instance @AlgorexHealth approach to being a resource: https://t.co/rLaTG5TP1T

Silly little thing for speakers – put your #hashtag in the footer of your slides, along with your handle so people can tweet at you during the session. AND – follow up individually on the mentions.

Text-lite slides should be mandatory. The more words on a slide, the more the presenter seems to just read it. If that’s the case, could do it alone.

Agree! And make it plain English, not the typical, repetitive mumbo jumbo of ‘solutions oriented’ tech speak.

I know I may be a nerd, but it would be fun to have a big group pic from an event. Love photo meetups!

I really like this idea. @Colin_Hung and @techguy did this at HIMSS, as well. I agree graphics (or images) are key! SO much more engaging than just a tweet.

The @virtualmedconf was engaging every speaker had incredible visuals that helped tell the story… @Osso_VR demonstrated a Virtual knee replacement.


Engage Healthcare Conference Attendees w/ Games, Contests & Current Events


Don’t just use games to create attention and draw visitors, they should educate, facilitate networking or fill another attendee need.

I love when there are bingo cards or other contests to help pay attention through the sessions & w exhibitors. I also love when the panelist is interactive & when there is a take-a-way that is helpful.

We once had a TMJ specialist speak for us and afterwards took patients to a breakout room to test if individuals had any issues with the TMJD. People really felt like they got a free appointment and was worth their time to attend.

INTENTIONALLY share information, interact, and engage directly and personally. Lead with sincerity and a desire to build a connection.

Tie their presentation to an event that happened 24-48 hours immediately before their presentation and somehow meaningfully tie the event to their presentation. Not just a passing reference.

Using Tablets Pre-loaded with Healthcare Conference Materials


For the @HCExecGroup‘s Annual Forum, we preloaded tablets for each participant with our digital program, and attendee and speaker roster

We preloaded tablets for each participant with our digital program, and attendee and speaker roster. We were even able to poll attendees, share conference updates, and push out messages, etc. Great tool for the conference!

Using the preloaded tables at the @HCExecGroup’s Annual Forum was VERY well received with attendees and participants

Yes of course attendees kept the pre-loaded tablets we provided them. 🙂 A little token of appreciation!


Engaging Healthcare Conference Attendees & Non-Attendees Via Social Media


Social Media, particularly Twitter of course, is a great way to follow along with the conferences. It requires planning from the organizers in selecting hashtags and continuously prompting attendees

Record or host the session live via webinar. Provide remote folks with an opportunity to ask questions and leave time at the end of the presentation to address questions.

IMO this is really a matter of just being engaged. If in person, share what seeing/learning. If remote, see what people there saw and take advantage of more time/freedom to add outside content.

Share social info so that attendees can live tweet or run @Facebook live sessions.

Love the idea of engaging a live presentation audience with a virtual one via Twitter, Skype, FB Live, etc. The challenge in my experience, has been getting a NON-MarCom audience engaged enough to make it work effectively.

Live-Tweeting Healthcare Conferences – Loved by Many


Live Tweet your session. Or have someone from your team Live Tweet during your presentation to connect with a wider audience. Prepare a list of key quotes and facts before the session.

I’m a big fan of (the speaker) live tweeting during the session. I saw @drnic1 do that once and loved it, so I did it the next year. Of course, you need a partner to send the tweets out for you. Or schedule them ahead of time. With graphics!

I love the idea of engaging a live presentation audience with a virtual one via Twitter, Skype, FB Live,

We ran a live tweet chat during the preso to illustrate

It takes some coordination but can be really valuable to everyone involved.

Did the speaker seem distracted at all to be tweeting while they were speaking?

Speakers can craft their tweets ahead of time and then have a partner in crime to send them out for you.

You can also just schedule them … But don’t do what I once did and forget that you’re speaking in a different time zone!

Better hope you’re not running late 😉 but a great way to engage folks online!

Curated tweet wall to net our spammers and offensive content. Edgy and frank tweets whether flattering or challenging narrative should be encouraged. I mean really, we’ve failed for decades to manage and deliver a sustainable healthcare economy. Conferences not exempt.

“6 things to Tweet when attending a conference” https://t.co/WaMhsZjP3c

Live-tweeting conversations including onsite & offsite folks; FB live; post-conf tweetchats; sometimes a project arises from a session that involves people at the session as well as people who were offsite … but anything like that is driven by lots of communication.


More Insight and Ideas About Making Healthcare Conferences Great Again


In the next post I’ll share the balance of the information shared by #HITsm chat participants about what conference organizers, exhibitors and attendees can do to add value DURING a healthcare conference including:

  • Importance of ‘Handouts’ including electricity, drinks, meals and general assistance 
  • Networking Needs DURING the Event 
  • New & Emerging Technology for Healthcare Conferences

I’ll then wrap up the series with a post sharing what chat participants suggested could be done AFTER a healthcare conference.

In the meantime, and as always, consider following me on Twitter where I share information about healthcare data, technology, and services as @ShimCode.