Do medical congresses have a future?
Medical congresses will continue to be organized; there is no doubt about it. As everything in life, they will evolve, but they will exist as long as they maintain their main purpose: meet to discuss the reality of the collective and to disseminate its new developments. The traditional pattern faces threats that are, in fact, opportunities for change.
In Spain, the ethical codes of some unofficial organizations (even if they have an important role in taking the decisions of the Administration) have limited the funding of the medical and pharmaceutical industry to strictly formative actions for professionals, restricting the recreational component that once was mixed with the scientific activity. This trend is not unique to Spain-Europe, as it also occurs in countries such as the United States.
Let us not deceive ourselves: in a health sector (especially the public one) where the training is run by the employees themselves, the pharmaceutical and technological industry assumes the necessary expense for the doctor to care of a patient in an effective and up-to-date way. Accordingly, and in a scenario of budgetary constraints, it will remain the same for years.
A changing reality
We are living in times of information, communication and transparency, in a social and medical context that at the moment understands that certain conditions occur. Medical congresses will find a balance to continue being platforms of transmission of knowledge and, at the same time, a point of convergence of the “medical coexistence”. Meanwhile, new trends and new formats will appear. Technology, social networks, apps, touch screens, drones, QR codes, video mapping, ROI evaluators, omnicanality … and environmental awareness. These are concepts that will be the main characters in this new era. Without forgetting that everything should facilitate interpersonal relationships, because a congress is no longer a show.
In this respect, Spain is an attractive country as a destination for congress tourism and the market evolution statistics show this. Perhaps the trend is to focus efforts on major continental and even global meetings held in cities that are not only limited in hosting participants but also have a related network: referral hospitals, pharmaceutical industry, research centers … some key facts that allow them cooperate. In this sense, Barcelona is a leading destination, as demonstrated by its recent choice for the cardiovascular and interventional radiology (CIRSE), nuclear medicine (EANM), cardiothoracic surgery (EACTS) or nursing (ICN) congresses.