All medical conferences moved to a virtual meeting format due toCOVID-19this year, and there has been apprehension that virtual formats do not allow the same feeling and face-to-face collaboration. However, some medical societies are finding the format enables more international physician participation. This was the key takeaway by the leadership of theSociety of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT)at its 2020 virtual meeting in July.
"Virtual meetings can have more reach to people globally, and we saw more people from around the world attending this year's meeting than we have ever had in our 15 year history," saidRon Blankstein, M.D., MSCCT, director of cardiac computed tomography, Brigham and Women's Hospital and immediate past president of SCCT. "I think the future of meetings will be virtual meetings, at least for the time being, and possibly much longer. Virtual meetings are not exactly what we are used to, but we need to recognize that."
Other cardiology conferences that were forced to go virtual due to the pandemic found a similar trend in greatly increased international participation. This included included theAmerican College of Cardiology (ACC),心血管血管造影和干预措施（SCAI）,心律社会（HRS），和经电阀阀门技术（TVT）。
The心血管研究基金会（CRF）that runs TVT decided to leverage that information to target more international participation for its upcoming Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) virtual meeting Oct. 14-18.
"These digital formats are allowing us to reach people who we otherwise were not able to reach with in-person meetings," explained胡安F.格拉纳达，M.D., CRF president and CEO. "At an in-person meeting you are limited by multiple factors. One of those are the financial ability of someone to actually be able to go to the meeting. So it is interesting to see that this virtual platform allows us to reach way more people than we were able to before."
He said planning for these types of meetings does require organizers to be "super targeted" on content delivered and they need to think about the various time zones of the attendees to help accomodate their participation in the live sessions.
The virtual HRS meeting in May found similar high engagement from electrophysiologists from outside the United States.
"There was a high level of engagement, and it actually enabled people to participate who would not necessarily have attended, so this appears to add value to the global community," explainedAndrew D. Krahn, M.D., FHRS, head of the division of cardiology at St. Paul’s Hospital, professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia and vice president of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS). "So we found the virtual platform is not just a workaround, its actually a meaningful learning platform and we should be exploring new ways to use this."
"The platform gives viewers a chance to hit pause, look at the slides, make notes, and we have gotten feedback that actually suggests this might be better that the in-person meetings," Krahn said. "It also allows you to attend all the sessions and not pick and choose like you have to at a live meeting because there is something else going on at the same time. The silver lining in this is that different types of learning help different people in ways that we might not necessarily have intended. This has been a good experiment in disrupting our thinking on different ways of doing things."
视频：在虚拟TCT 2020会议上预期的内容- 采访Juan F. Granada，M.D.