by Revin Samuel, Event Manager, OntarioMD
Like a lot of conference planners out there, when the pandemic hit, the scope of my job changed forever. Transitioning to virtual conferences has been an adventure to say the least. Sure, you remove the venue space and the catering and the detailed registration process, but you become more reliant on technology than ever before and you need to understand that technology, and appreciate it for what it can and cannot do.
OntarioMD Digital Health and Virtual Care Day is scheduled for this coming Thursday, October 1. This is my first venture into a virtual conference, and for a first one, we decided to really go big! It has been a tremendous learning experience for me personally in trying to learn the technology, grasp all the little details that need to go into planning a virtual conference from detailed run sheets to multiple dry runs and dress rehearsals. It is an incredible team effort, which involves different experts owning different elements of the event.
The biggest conference I would plan for an in-person conference would be our EMR: Every Step Conference, which I have been doing since 2012. We’ve almost had up to a 1000 people attend that conference at it’s peak and so the vision for a virtual conference…take that type of format, make it virtual, add in the fact that nobody has to travel, and your audience scope is going to seriously expand!
We have 2300+ registered participants – our largest number to date for an OntarioMD conference! Our team has put a lot of effort and planning into this, to provide an event that helps the digital health community and clinicians get inspired, motivated, and learning more about digital health and virtual care tools.
Do not forget the virtual tradeshow. This is another pilot initiative for me, and I have already got ideas in my head about how to improve upon it in the future. The details and logistics going in to setting up customized booths for each vendor can get pretty complex and thanks to our internal resources at OntarioMD, we are hopefully able to pull it off.
Attendees can expect the same quality educational experience as our award-winning in-person EMR: Every Step Conferences have offered over the years. The event will feature keynote addresses, from Dr. Jane Philpott, and Matt Anderson, President of Ontario Health. We will also offer three streams of concurrent live sessions, with five sessions in each stream. The afternoon will include 20 EMR virtual workshops with OntarioMD Peer Leaders, where we will leverage 40 of our internal staff to manage each of the 20 virtual rooms. These workshops provide an opportunity for EMR experts to help their colleagues enhance their use of the EMR and other virtual care tools.
Each live stream we run is considered an event and runs live for up to 3.5 hours and we are running five live events. This involves a moderator, a lead producer, another producer and two people to manage questions and the live chat plus a lot of time management skills to make sure each session starts, ends on time and the stream goes according to plan. It takes a team to do this and everyone is a backup for someone else, you need contingencies!
With that in mind, it makes your agenda a lot tighter, but you are truly getting quality over quantity. This year’s conference features 10 educational sessions with some tremendous speakers. View the agenda here
You can find out more about the conference and register for free by visiting www.ontariomd.live where the conference will be hosted. This site has been developed with tremendous precision and effort in-house and contains the agenda, support options, all of the live streams and a virtual tradeshow.
While a virtual conference of this size and magnitude might normally be outsourced to a third-party platform, our tech-savvy OntarioMD team elected to come together and pull this off using internal resources and knowledge. This will involve the support of the majority of our organization (over 60 staff members) and has required over 35 dry runs and dress rehearsals to ensure the technology works and plan contingencies for things that could go wrong.
With any pilot initiative comes risks and challenges. We don’t anticipate that it will all be smooth sailing, and there will be many lessons learned. But we do hope this is a great step forward for OntarioMD and that everyone who attends learns something new.
Register for free at www.ontariomd.live and we’ll see you this Thursday, October 1!