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Embracing the Benefits of Virtual Meetings


From the convenience of on-demand sessions to the ability to replay surgical demo details, experts agree that virtual meetings offer benefits and are likely to become part of annual meeting agendas.

This is part 2 of a 2-part series.

Part 1: Virtual AAFPRS Meeting in Retrospect

Theda C. Kontis, MD, FACS

Theda C. Kontis, MD, FACS

Secretary, AAFPRS

Q: Was there any particular standout about the meeting format this year?

A: I liked the pre-recorded sessions. I was able to continue to work at my office and watch the sessions on the weekends. Because of the COVID closure earlier in the year, it was nice not to have to close down to go away to a meeting or have to watch during the workday.

Q: In terms of surgical and/or business prowess, what was most meaningful for you in this year’s program?

A: I really liked watching the surgical demonstrations, which I could replay as needed.

“The virtual meeting was excellent. I have enjoyed watching the talks on my own time and especially being able to take time to review the posters. What's nice about the recorded talks, is that I can replay something I didn't quite understand and because of no scheduling conflicts, I found that I was able to watch everything I wanted to. Very well done!”

Paul J. Carniol, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Paul J. Carniol, MD, FACS

President Elect, AAFPRS

Q: What was the virtual meeting experience like for you? Did it meet expectations?

A: The virtual meeting experience was excellent. Without dealing with the travel associated issues was able to have the highest quality educational content. It exceeded expectations.

Q: What were the pros compared with a live event? Cons?

A: The pros were that we were able to have this high-quality educational experience while staying in our community. This allowed us not lose time traveling giving leaving us more time for our families and practices. We also were able to avoid the inconveniences and expenses associated with travel. There were cons associated with the virtual meeting. One way we learn at meetings besides the presentations is by speaking with our peers. There was no opportunity for this with a virtual meeting. There is also a loss of the interpersonal contact that we typically have at a meeting. Also, there was a loss of the opportunity to directly question the speakers during the presentations. Anticipate that in the future this will be possible with virtual meetings.

Q: Was there any particular standout about the meeting format this year?

A: The panel presentations were very well done. However, there was less opportunity for the panelists to question each other or for the attendees to question the panelists.

Q: In terms of surgical and/or business prowess, what was most meaningful for you in this year’s program?

A: This meeting excelled at discussions about how and why the presenters treat certain patients and perform specific procedures.

Q: Will there continue to be a place for virtual meetings once we reintroduce live meetings?

A: For now, while we have the pandemic anticipate that meetings will continue to be virtual. After there is an effective immunization and/or early reliable medical treatment (that can treat the disease before people are sick enough to require hospital treatment) anticipate that meetings will move to some sort of hybrid model. Virtual meetings work too well for everyone to go back to traveling for every meeting. Whether the hybrid will be a mix of types of meetings or having a meeting that is both in person and virtual remains to be determined. In brief the answer to the question is yes there will continue to be a place for virtual meetings. (The technology and techniques are excellent now and with further progress they will have additional improvements.)

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