Scroll Top

You can’t virtualise proper human interaction

Posted by Toby Borger

Sweaty palms as the plane takes off, nose pressed against the window staring through the clouds at the foreign land down below, the excitement of having a pristine hotel room with ensuite bathroom all to yourself, wondering whether the meatballs in Stockholm will taste better than the ones in Ikea. These aren’t the thoughts of a child, but a 54-year old man going back to an in-person conference for the first time 3 years.

Conference organisers did an amazing job during lockdown creating innovative platforms to try and mimic in-person conferences as closely as possible. There were virtual conferences with plenary sessions and breakout rooms, exhibition halls and even ones where your avatar could bump into and chat with other delegates in the networking areas. It is also a step forward that the vast majority of conferences are now run in hybrid formats, so doctors can access the content from their home, clinic etc. without having to fly potentially thousands of miles to attend.

However, it was great to back exhibiting at the EASD conference in Stockholm, meeting with delegates and telling them about our programmes. It was also wonderful to be invited by my colleagues from Springer Healthcare Benelux to their EASD in ORANJE in which delegates from The Netherlands were invited to hear, while having dinner, from leading Dutch experts about the highlights of the upcoming conference and their implications for the local healthcare setting.

The delegates that were able to travel to EASD also seemed very happy to be reunited with their colleagues from different regions (and even the same country) after all these years. It was very telling that there seemed to be more doctors from Brazil, Egypt, Sri Lanka (and most poignantly Ukraine) than there were from the home country Sweden.

This is the one thing that thing that the most advanced conference apps will never be able to replace, the opportunity to get away, to have human connection with doctors from around the world, the chance to have in-depth discussions challenging cases – or even whether the meatballs in Stockholm taste better than the ones in Ikea. In my opinion, they don’t!

If you were able to meet with us on site at EASD it was great to speak to you, and if not, check out our upcoming webinar on ‘Overcoming clinical inertia in type 2 diabetes’ here.