Ashfield Meetings & Events (part of UDG Healthcare plc) has unveiled intriguing insights from a group of global healthcare professionals within its latest white paper. 

The Science of Healthcare Congresses is a unique study of over 200 healthcare professionals (HCPs), from both Europe and the US, across a range of therapy areas. The white paper highlights HCP preferences and shares perceptive experiences of medical congresses – from their decision-making regarding attendance, how they value this type of activity, how they apportion their time on-site and engage with the healthcare industry, concluding with their post-congress evaluation. 

This is the third HCP survey by the leading global healthcare meetings and events specialists in three years, and follows the well-received insights of Ashfield’s previous white papers, The Future of Meetings (2016) and The Science of Healthcare Professional Meetings (2018).

“Our two previous white papers unequivocally identified that face-to-face meetings and events form a major part of HCPs’ continued medical education, and what was abundantly clear was that national and international congresses are of significant importance – both featuring in their top four preferred meeting types,” explains Ashfield’s Head of Compliance, Andrew Moore. “But why is this? What is it that makes congresses such a valuable education channel to time-restricted physicians? As a business that provides congress support services for many of the world’s leading healthcare organisations, we were keen to discover how HCPs themselves would like to see congresses evolving to better-meet their needs.” 


Through its work with a broad range of healthcare businesses – from start-up biotechs to large global healthcare companies – Ashfield Meetings & Events appreciated that there are many differing congress strategies adopted by these organisations. Yet there are common industry congress considerations and discussion points, and it’s these that Ashfield set out to explore. 

“Our research has been genuinely fascinating, and we’ve learned a huge amount about how healthcare professionals view the whole congress experience as part of their medical learning journey,” adds Ashfield’s US Director of Client Services, Katie Koziol.

“For example, we established which congresses HCPs value and why, their view on virtual attendance, accessing scientific content and just how much they value the exhibit hall.” 

Indeed, the white paper indicates that 91% of physicians said the exhibit hall was an important part of their congress experience, ranking it as the most effective element of a congress for networking. And, 88% of physicians advised that they would question why a leading healthcare company might not have a presence in the exhibit hall. 

“These particular findings around exhibits, seem to validate that ‘fear of missing out’ reason many healthcare companies have when it comes to investing in congresses. Healthcare professionals highly value effective exhibition stands as a key part of their medical education and it was interesting to discover that they would question if a particular brand or product didn’t have a presence,” says Andrew Moore. “It’s these sort of learnings that will be invaluable for healthcare companies’ congress strategies, and our white paper really goes into the detail on all these elements.”

Katie Koziol adds, “This important research focuses on the complex wants and needs of today’s healthcare professionals. I’m sure its findings will hugely benefit not only physicians, healthcare businesses and associations, but ultimately, of course, patients themselves.” 

The Science of Healthcare Congresses is now available to download at

Ashfield Meetings & Events experts will be discussing the white paper’s data and findings for the first time at an exclusive evening reception held in Chicago during ASCO on June 2nd. To register your interest in attending this short event, go to

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.