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Healthcare Meetings Forum Asia 2014 - Challenges ahead for meetings in the Healthcare sector

Healthcare Meetings Forum Asia 2014
The inaugural Healthcare Meetings Forum Asia was over-subscribed on Friday August 1st at Suntec Singapore an indication of the intrigue and interest created by the Forum’s content. The steering committee remained true to their commitment to promote evidence-based dialogue, access to experts and the involvement of all stakeholder groups.

With an overview of US & European regulation setting the tone for the day, the focus shifted from West to East as speakers from J&J and AZ shared perspectives on existing regulation in Asia. The increased overlaying of process and procedure from companies headquartered in US and Europe might accelerate understanding of and compliance with regulations, but it is also at risk of detracting from the significant challenges and painstaking work associated with a healthcare system in Asia that is neither complete nor optimal.  

The second session explored the correlation between corporate strategies for medical meetings (predicted change in both size, format and funding), the demands of healthcare professional attendees (education not promotion) and the expectations of the local regulator, SAPI. Of the polled participants, 75% had either not read, or not even heard of the latest release of the SAPI Code of Marketing Practices, a startling statistic that would lead the SAPI representative to call for a behavioural change at the regulator, from passive to proactive and partnership-driven.  

Assessing the evolution of medical congresses in Asia there was a clear call for an improved focus on CME and CPD accreditation as 98% of the audience agreed with the perspective that delivering education and facilitating best practice should be top priorities for all stakeholders. With expected changes to the congress funding model, declining corporate sponsorship will act as a catalyst for creativity among associations, putting patient outcomes centre stage rather than a limited focus on association member skills and knowledge will help secure continued self-regulation. With the notion that content is king, forum partner SpotMe explored the shift from didactic lectures to audience engagement. With 2014 defined by LBi Health as “…the year of the digitally native HCP”, expectations now are for everything from user-generated, user-contributed, even playful content to immediate results and messaging free from commercial bias.  

Commenting on the forum, steering committee member Richard Parker, director of Healthcare Strategy at Zibrant said, “After the success of the 2011 and 2013 forums in London, it became clear that there was a global demand for similar dialogue and this inaugural Forum in Asia was the logical next step given the demand for increased awareness and understanding of regulatory codes in US and Europe. The European steering committee was pleased to partner with Suntec, who shared our appetite for promoting education, discussion and networking among all stakeholder groups. Similar to previous experiences attendees, speakers, panellists and partners have commented favourably on the inclusive nature of our format. It is one we will continue to protect as we develop forums in other regions.”  

Mark Handforth the host of the Forum commented, “it is clear that the global rise of compliance to regulatory code is going to increasingly affect the Asia region, along with budget pressures our audience was clear in that fact, just as it has in the US and Europe. The lack of knowledge and leadership of a single entity to guide all the players in the region will mean that there could be pain ahead, as industry implements regulatory policies, medical societies re-model their funding approach and Healthcare Professionals see changes to how their education is provided. If the Healthcare Meetings Forum taught us anything in answering the title of the meeting “The Future of Medical Meetings in Asia” it was the importance of dialogue between all parties to find the common ground we saw in the room, to create initiatives to simplify and encourage good ethical scientific communication.”

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