Starting an event planning company is becoming an increasingly popular choice for people from all walks of life. Becoming an event planner can certainly be a great profession for the right person. It is definitely not a glamorous job,nor as easy at is may sound. While some may take some courses, get an event planner certification, gain experience and start to advance in the business, organizing medical events requires a very specific set of skills, knowledge, and know-how.
What are Medical Events?
Medical events are events for healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, patients and those involved in the healthcare industry. These events present an invaluable opportunity to provide updates on new medical innovations, advocacy for patients and a chance to enhance healthcare practices.
Types of Medical Events
Medical events can be mandatory, such as CME programs to make sure the healthcare professionals are continually studying and enhancing their education in their field of expertise. They can also be non-mandatory but highly regarded events in the industry such as advisory board meeting, speaker tours, accredited satellite programs at major conferences, patient programs, trade shows etc.
Skills and knowledge of an experienced Medical Event Specialist
A Medical Event Specialist, just like an event planner, has a great responsibility to ensure a smooth event through constant communication with the client ,faculty, participants and vendors. Effective handling of any issues that may (and will) pop up, as well as staying on budget and implementing the client’s vision for the event. However, this is where the similarities end. A Medical Event Specialist on the other hand is required to possess additional skills to successfully and flawlessly manage a medical event.
One of the most important aspects of any medical event is the participation of its attendees in the meetings. Only through participation, exchanging of opinions and collaboration the healthcare industry as a whole can move forward and bring innovative practices, research, and solution to better the lives of patients. Participants will want to attend if they find value in the meeting and also if they aremade to feel that they are an integral part of the meeting.
As a Medical Event Specialist you need to know your audience and what is important to them in order to increase attendee participation. You have to be able to handle the special needs of these participants. For example, physicians attending meetings are on a very tight schedule. You have to make sure you give them enough time for their travel as most times they leave straight from a clinic to the event. Transportation and other details have to be flawless in order for them to arrive and leave on time. When planning Patient programs, the Medical Event Specialist needs to be aware of their medical condition and requirements. Will they need special access to the venue? Will they need an Oxygen tank or have any other medical requirements so they are comfortable and well taken care of before/during and after the meeting or event.
Another important aspect is for a Medical Event Specialist is to be familiar with industry regulations and guidelines and also to be trained and certified in healthcare compliance policies and procedures. If you are putting together a CME Program then knowledge of accrediting a program and the process and the timelines for acquiring one is critical to the success of the program. If honorariums are being paid then are you aware of the fair value market pricing? What can and cannot be paid and are they in compliance with Rx&D guidelines? After all as a Medical Event Specialist you are responsible for ensuring your client is aware of these compliance guidelines.
Planning events and meetings for the healthcare industry involves a lot of moving parts and you should interview your Medical Event Specialist very carefully to ensure they are very well versed and highly experienced in planning these types of events; that they know and understand your meeting objectives; your product, your KOLs and patients. After all it’s your organization image that is on the line and your Medical Event Specialist should be in sync with ensuring your meeting/event reflects that too.