To achieve impact with investigator meetings, there are many goals to consider. The race to get drugs to market faster is more competitive than ever. It’s not enough for attendees to only walk away from investigator meetings motivated and with a positive experience. When investigators leave meetings well trained on protocols and data standards, it sets trials up for long-term success. This success may include improvements in recruitment and enrollment of the right patients, fewer data errors, and potentially faster trial completions.
Why is knowledge transfer and retention critical to investigator meeting success?
Not so long ago, measuring the impact of these high-stakes meetings focused on:
Evaluations - Did the meeting receive positive or negative feedback from attendees?
Overall execution - Did the meeting come off without a hitch?
Compliance - Was the meeting adherent to current compliance standards?
While positive feedback, flawless execution, and compliance are still important markers of success, they don’t necessarily ensure that learning and training goals are met. These goals include whether knowledge transition around study protocols, patient recruitment and enrollment criteria, and correct data entry standards has occurred.
That's why understanding and measuring knowledge transfer and retention have become critical metrics.
Did knowledge transfer of key content occur?
Was the cost of the meeting justified by the knowledge increase?
Organizers and sponsors need to know how well the clinical trial’s purpose, protocols, participant criteria, and safety issues are communicated to the audience – and just as important – how that information is retained and put into practice by site teams after the meeting is over.
To understand which meeting design techniques and engagement strategies increase attendees’ knowledge uptake and retention, let’s take a combined look at adult learning principles and healthcare professional (HCP) meeting preferences today.
Healthcare Professional Learning in 2020
If you ask clinical meeting participants about their typical experience, most will say it’s predominantly slide heavy, loaded with complex charts and graphs, with a mostly didactic presentation from a presenter to the audience.
What do healthcare professionals really want in the meetings they attend? Let’s be clear that they do want access to the latest scientific research so that they can help patients. They also want the meeting to be worth the time and expense of attending. Additionally, HCPs (and in particular, investigators) seek opportunities to network with experts and interact with presenters and their peers. Research conducted by Ashfield Meetings and Events also revealed:
- 91% of HCPs believe scientific meetings should be more engaging and impactful
- 80% of HCPs said meetings should include more interactive activities, sessions, and content
- 84% of HCPs said meetings should have a variety of forms of presentation and communication
- 88% of HCPs want meetings to provide access to presentations and supporting documentation
So, what's the problem? Many meeting organizers are still not taking these preference into account when designing meetings. This means that a high percentage of HCPs walk away from meetings unsatisfied.
Why is this important? These preferences, along with millennial and Gen Z mindset that embraces experiences, are dramatically shifting clinical meeting attendee expectations and creating a definitive need for more effective strategies.
As if that’s not enough, enter in distractions of omnipresent mobile devices and a non-stop work environment. With these constant disruptions, it’s a wonder that any knowledge transfer at HCP meetings occurs.
How do we change the paradigm?
Today, savvy planning teams within life sciences organizations and meetings and incentive companies are designing investigator meeting experiences that leave attendees motivated, persuaded, and educated. How? They leverage meeting formats that foster authentic engagement – engagement with the content, presenters – and, just as importantly- other audience members.
Why are they taking this approach?
First of all, today’s audiences demand it. But more importantly, engagement and knowledge retention increase when information is presented in formats that accommodate individual learning needs and preferences. For example:
- Some meeting participants are visual learners who rely on compelling graphics to grasp new concepts
- Others are kinesthetic learners who look for tactile opportunities to interact with content
- Many participants learn best by translating key information into their own words by taking their own notes on materials presented that they can refer to later
A defined meeting design, content, and engagement strategy captures attention and creates the types of interactions required to promote active learning. Adding the right technology to the mix can eliminate distractions, keeps engagement levels high throughout a meeting and boost knowledge transfer and retention.
Three Meeting Strategies to Increase Knowledge Retention
Here are some proven engagement strategies to ensure knowledge transfer and retention take place at your next investigator meeting:
Save the BYOD for Less High-Stakes Meetings
There’s no question that there are great opportunities to have your participants use their own devices for interaction. But, (and we cannot emphasize this enough) investigator meetings are not one of them! Remember, this is your chance to gather experts in one place to motivate them for your trial and train them to enroll the right patients and execute all aspects of protocol to the letter. This calls for you to do everything you can to maximize engagement.
To achieve the highest engagement levels (and subsequently improve learning), provide investigators with interactive content and slides on a designated input device, such as an iPad® or tablet pre-loaded with an engagement platform like Array® Premium.
Not only does this signal a different and unexpected approach to the meeting for investigators, it reframes their expectations for engagement, as the provision of a dedicated device for the presentation and interactions keeps the external distractions of email, social media, and other content on personal devices out-of-sight and touch, (if not completely out of mind).
This type of “second-screen” approach keeps participants focused on the same content at the same time – making it easier to gauge, test, and measure learning and retention.
Make Learning Multifaceted
Presenting slide after slide in a one-way highway of information quickly becomes monotonous, both for presenters and meeting participants.
Regardless of the topic, participants are more engaged when their interaction with presenters is a two-way dialogue. For example, speakers may use live polls to get feedback about which direction to take with a presentation, or to gather instant feedback on questions and concerns.
Incorporating live polls throughout an investigator meeting provides real-time insights into how engaged the audience is, and how much knowledge transfer has occurred. If polls identify a knowledge gap, then adjustments can be made to review and reinforce those points at the optimal time while the meeting is still in progress.
Learning and retention also take on a new dimension when attendees have the opportunity to record notes, make annotations, or save slides for future reference. This makes what they take home highly relevant to them. As an example, with slide engagement features available with Array® Premium, participants can zoom in on slides, draw or type notes, rate slides, and save slides, notes and resources – which boosts learning retention and becomes a powerful motivator beyond the meeting for site teams to put knowledge into action.
Gamify the Meeting Experience
One of the ways EM works with clients to incentivize attendees to engage with content is through gamification. Gamification isn’t playing a game for the sake of playing a game. It’s used to check knowledge and reinforce learning.
Game-like systems reward meeting attendees with points as they complete tasks, submit Q&A or participate in session discussions – encouraging attendees to actively partake in the learning process, and thereby, increase overall retention of the concepts.
Need further proof of the benefits of gamification? Data analyzed from over 100 healthcare professional meetings that utilized gamification demonstrated a 40% increase in highly engaged participants and an 8% increase in the average percentage of correct answers per participant.
One effective, yet easy-to-implement gamification strategy is the use team polling questions to test knowledge and competency of concepts presented. Awarding points for correct answers and displaying a leaderboard of teams with the highest point totals creates a participatory and competitive atmosphere for meeting participants to demonstrate what they’ve learned.
Aside from reinvigorating the traditional meeting approach, utilizing technology to increase engagement has tangible benefits on knowledge. On average, 52% of IM participants demonstrate learning actions with the use of engagement technology and 74% have correct responses in post-session knowledge/competence testing.
Adopting defined goals and strategies to boost attendee engagement, learning and knowledge retention at investigator meetings will pave the way for more successful training and patient enrollment in clinical trials, which could lead to faster trial completion and quicker time to market.
Want more in-depth content on planning investigator meetings? Click here to view EM's Complete Guide to Effective Investigator Meetings.
At EM, we are experts on life sciences meeting engagement and analytics. For more insights into how to improve knowledge transfer and retention at your next investigator meeting, contact us.