Every Tuesday we send out the MedComms Networking email newsletter to subscribers. It includes brief commentary on what we're doing and planning, and highlights relevant news to encourage sharing of information, experiences and ideas and to stimulate discussion. The text and links included below, by definition, were accurate on the day of publication, but may then become outdated.
MedComms Networking - 16 April 2019
My thanks to Jonathan Lorber and Igal Iancu, co-founders of eDocate Ltd based in Israel, who led last week's online workshop, "The development and application of virtual patient simulations in medical education ".
I loved the fact the speakers were in Israel, and one attendee chose to dial in late at night from Australia to join what's otherwise been a UK-led exercise. These workshops have all been accessible from everywhere. For free. Off a mobile device or laptop or desktop PC or MAC.
I've been playing.
We've run five such online MedComms workshops over the past few weeks, using Zoom.us. Unusually for MedComms Networking events I've little to show for it. Nothing much to point you at and say; "if you missed it, here's the recording...". But it enabled useful groups of relevant individuals, from across MedComms and indeed the globe, to gather informally and chat. To hear from specialists, to share experiences and thoughts, to ponder and debate questions of mutual interest. Then, having travelled nowhere, we simply signed off and went back to work. Or play. Or sleep. Or whatever.
Frankly, it cost me very little other than some time. It seemed that most, if not all participants, joined in without any real problems. The Zoom platform was, perhaps surprisingly, robust. Not perfect, of course. But really, quite good.
Nearly 100 individuals signed up overall and just short of 80 attended one or more of the workshops. They wouldn't have all come to Oxford, would they?
We certainly had some lively discussion along the way. At other times it was somewhat painfully quiet. "Hello - is anyone hearing me?".
What I found curious was how many people didn't turn their webcams and microphones on. Having tested the platform widely with freelancers and wannabes, I wasn't expecting that so much from the guys working inside the companies. And it was obviously mostly a choice. Yet that's what makes these video conferences work so much better than audio teleconferences. Certainly, as a workshop leader it's so much better to see the eyes of the participants. Do they want to ask a question? Are they baffled or bored?
Were they embarrassed not to have put their posh clothes on? Were they in fact sitting there doing other work? Were they, in fact, even there?
Unsurprisingly I received very little feedback afterwards, and I couldn't stop anyone leaving the room before they filled in their feedback form. There was no walking together out of the room and no informal chat in the bar afterwards.
But I think it worked.
And I'll keep on playing.
After Easter, from 1 May, I'll change the format and run Zoom webinars. Every Wednesday at midday UK time. Everyone's welcome. And if you're in the audience, you won't need a webcam and microphone. Or your posh clothes.
Remember, details of all our activities are kept bang up-to-date at www.MedCommsNetworking.com or give me a shout at any time if you've any questions, comments or suggestions.
Managing Director, NetworkPharma Ltd
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