SHSMD Annual Conference Goes Virtual, Adding New Bells and Whistles
// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
In this topsy-turvy world we’re living in, everything familiar has had to change to accommodate the new normal, and conferences are no exception. The Society for Health Care Strategy & Market Development annual conference, SHSMD Connections, will now be held virtually as two conferences, “Navigating a New Reality” on September 14-16, and “SHSMD Connections Bytes” on October 26-28.
The new reality, of course, is COVID-19. It has forced us as an industry to rapidly adopt new ways of doing things, with technology as the enabler. The requirements of the new normal — remote work, telehealth, and virtual conferences, to name a few — have given us a taste of the future, and although we all live for the day we can safely gather again in person, these tools will not go back on the shelf to collect dust once we’re on the other side of this crisis. Rather, they will enhance and augment in-person experiences and open up new opportunities for wider participation.
Diane Weber, SHSMD’s executive director, and Holly Sullivan, president of SHSMD for 2020 and senior director of strategic marketing at Spectrum Health, took a few minutes away from conference planning to speak with us about the two conferences, the new state-of-the-art virtual format, and what attendees can expect.
“What we’re doing is bringing people into conferences, where the speakers are available for Q&A, where they can raise their hands and ask questions and interact with the speakers and faculty, where they can work together on projects through workshops,” says Weber. “And we even have opportunities for them to interact in roundtable sessions.”
Sullivan adds, “One of the biggest differences in our virtual platform now is that before, you felt a little bit more like just a bystander and there really was no way to actively participate. This new platform has really turned that around and enables you to be an active participant in the conference.”
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