“We need to be respectful of those concerned with travel”

By Lyndal Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer AMS GAICD

Lyndal Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer AMS GAICD

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly subsides, you have decided to hold the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine (ASUM 2022) in Adelaide. Will it be a live or a hybrid format? What sparked this decision?
ASUM2022 in Adelaide will be a hybrid event. We hope delegates will join us in Adelaide as both the venue is fantastic and the city itself is beautiful, with so many options to explore the region should you be able to stay a little longer.

What will your event look like? Do you plan any major changes to the last Congress? And how many delegates do you expect offline/online?
Our last conference was virtual only, so we are so excited to have the opportunity to network and connect with the ultrasound community in 2022. The didactic component of the meeting will be available for all delegates, whether attending live or joining us virtually. The workshop component is interactive and therefore limited to those attending the event. We are thrilled to have our corporate partners join us in Adelaide, showcasing their products and services, as well as providing educational updates on the latest technologies, artificial intelligence and future development in line with our theme ‘into the future’.

Did you conduct virtual or hybrid events before? If you compare a virtual with a live event, how different are the planning and organization?
ASUM has successfully held virtual and hybrid events over the last two years. The planning for a hybrid event is substantially more than a live event or virtual event only, and is essentially running two events for the one programme, so a lot more planning and consideration need to be given for how we deliver the programme for optimal engagement. This year we have engaged with an executive speaker coach to support our presenters to deliver their presentations to a hybrid audience.

The MICE industry has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you think this will change our industry, and what measures can be taken, in your opinion?
The healthcare sector has also been heavily impacted by COVID-19 and continues to be affected, with staff shortages and illness continuing. With regards to events and conferences, there remains a collegial approach to knowledge sharing and learning, and the opportunities that networking brings during a conference. While many are keen to meet and engage at a conference, this may take longer than hoped. We need to be respectful of those concerned with travel, care of patients or requirements from healthcare employers to be open to change, as well as consider the costs involved with travel to attend an event. In the initial phase, we will need to reset expectation for lower attendance at events, as well as last minute registration, but hopefully we will see these improve with time.