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Trends in Pharma

Fostering Global Collaboration in Healthcare for Sustainable Solutions

Written by Natalia Denisova, PhD VP, Head of Medical Affairs MphaR
May 7, 2024

Fostering Global Collaboration in Healthcare for Sustainable Solutions: Leveraging the Digital Tool for Scientific Events

The COVID-19 pandemic has fostered many challenges and changes in the global pharmaceutical workplace. Though it did not affect the commercial aspects of pharmaceutical companies, it did produce new innovative ways for these companies to lead the global healthcare needs. In the post-COVID world, Pharmaceutical companies are committed to cleaner, healthier, and sustainable practices. In doing so, many Global Pharma Companies made the commitment to reduce in the future unnecessary traveling to provide their contribution to the Paris Agreement and the commitment by the Governments of many countries Worldwide. 

MphaR is providing innovative digital platforms for pharmaceutical companies to fulfil their commitment to a healthy environment. These digital platforms provide viable solutions to reduce unnecessary traveling for pharmaceutical employees and healthcare professionals. Moreover, these platforms also contribute to the global green initiative to cut down CO2 emissions and cope with global warming.

Leveraging digital solutions for HCPs' medical education

Over the recent years, advancements in technology (such as virtual platforms and telemedicine) have reduced the rate of excessive traveling and physical meetings. A virtual platform is an interactive, active communication and dynamic way to make participants capable of conducting research and making advancements. Such platforms leverage various multimedia resources and digital tools that imitate the environment of traditional conferences and also have extra facilities such as flexible and accessible time and presence availability.

Virtual platforms enable pharmaceutical companies, researchers, collaborators, and healthcare professionals to manage meetings, make advancements, develop demanding products, and make thoughtful decisions. Virtual platforms provide an opportunity for immediate or planned access to meetups, easing the participants to work effectively. Take an example of the Virtual Advisory Board Platform by MphaR, which is designed to provide innovative and state-of-the-art solutions for virtual meetups of pharmaceutical stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, and pharmaceutical employees. In short, these platforms offer an opportunity for effective collaboration without traveling needs. 

The Need for Global Collaboration

The need for global collaboration in the healthcare industry is not new. It has risen many times in the past, and fortunately, global collaborations between different stakeholders have proved beneficial. Here are some of the examples of successful global collaboration.

AIDS-HIV initiative 

There was an international collaboration to deal with AIDS / HIV, malaria, and TB. There was a need for cooperation regarding technical assistance, funds, prevention strategies against AIDS / HIV, treatment, medications, and prevention strategies for low-middle income countries. Global healthcare collaboration proved effective in creating an anti-HIV initiative worldwide.

Surgery initiative

The initiative was made by the Global Surgery Foundation or Lancet Commission on Global Surgery to improve surgery-related issues globally. It was targeted to deal with problems related to surgical care and post-surgery effects and outcomes. There was a need for surgery infrastructures, instruments, professional training, and research work in middle—and low-income countries. Thus, improved surgical treatments, a lower mortality rate, and valuable and effective surgical outcomes were achieved.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine is effective as it enables patients to receive medical attention and is easy for both the doctor and the patient. Without showing physical availability, doctors are still present for patients, thus reducing the burden for both. Global collaboration has proved effective in the health care system by facilitating the professionals and patients. In countries with fewer health care resources, telemedicine is the best choice and option for patients.

Now, in 2024, there is an increased need for global collaboration among healthcare professionals to cope with the challenges of traditional meetings and unnecessary traveling (of pharmaceutical employees and HCPs). According to a survey, about 62% of HCPs report their patients are at risk when they are traveling and 32% of HCPs reported their patients worsened in their absence. The use of digital platforms by Global Pharma Companies for pharmaceutical meetups seems a viable solution to this problem.

Challenges in traditional meets

Here are a few challenges that healthcare professionals  and pharmaceutical companies may face in traditional meets;

  • Healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies have to face management or logistical issues in traditional face-to-face events. These may include choosing the location, venue, menu, accommodation arrangements, registration for attendees, etc.
  • Face-to-face meetings have cost issues as they increase the burden, and pharmaceutical companies and organization members must take time to fulfill the commitments from their busy schedules. Thus, virtual meetings via the virtual platform are most effective, less time-consuming, easily accessible, and flexible.
  • The absence of HCPs from patient care while traveling for pharmaceutical meetings can pose a risk for their patients. That’s why most HCPs and thought leaders of the healthcare industry are ready to switch to virtual platforms.

 

Virtual platform and sustainability

Virtual platforms are sustainable and valuable ways to fulfill the need for global collaborative meetings. There is no need to try to meet the financial or accommodation needs. This is cost-effective, easily accessible, and, most significantly, it allows people around the globe to join the meeting according to their availability and ease and have no travel issues. Thus, it reduces pollution through transport and the risk of health issues caused by moving from one place to another in a short period.

           

Virtual Platform for Scientific Events

Virtual platforms are an environment-friendly, cost-effective, time-friendly, and dynamic way to conduct a meeting with global collaboration within no time limit. They do not require members, such as healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical professionals, or organizations, to leave their work and move to attend a meeting.

Whirlwind progress and development in technology, advancements in collaborative approaches, and variations in these approaches have led to evaluation in virtual platforms, especially in the case of hosting scientific events in the healthcare sector. In the beginning, virtual events were based on webinars and presentations conducted online, but with the advancement in the internet and tools, these ways have been changed and modified for betterment.

 

Advantages of virtual events

Virtual events are effective in that they reduce time constraints, travel, and financial issues. This platform is effective. It has reduced the burden for the host to accommodate the guests and decide the venue and menu for the members. This is also effective as it reduces carbon emissions through transport vehicles, thus lowering carbon footprints.

 

Case studies of successful virtual scientific events

 

Virtual world congress of dermatology

This was the first meeting of the Dermatology Congress using a virtual platform. Dermatologists, researchers, and professionals from various industries attended the meeting. Online content was available according to demand, as the international audience was part of the meeting.

 Virtual International AIDS conference

The other case study showing an example of using a virtual platform is the virtual international AIDS conference, in which a large gathering around the globe working in the field of ADIS/HIV participated. Healthcare professionals, policymakers, and people with AIDS/HIV were involved. Also, during COVID-19, virtual platforms were used to conduct meetings and make strategies.

A key point for virtual platforms to conduct scientific events is to ensure the security and accuracy of shared data and meetings conducted on them. To foster trust, the reliability and confidentiality of the data are mandatory to assure the safety of information shared on such platforms. Thus, virtual platforms can be the best way to have a scientific events-arranging tool.

 

Promoting Sustainability Through Digital Solutions

Virtual events have reduced travel-associated outrush by excluding attendees who need to travel to attend a meeting and conducting it online using virtual platforms. This has also reduced wastage, as there is no need to use paper for a meeting. Thus, it reduces resource consumption, making it a good option.

Strategies for designing and hosting eco-friendly virtual events

The strategies for designing and hosting eco-friendly events using  Virtual platforms are effective as these are environment friendly, and conducting an event online reduces the registration burden rather than planning meals, less electricity usage, and thus reduces waste. This also promotes sustainable behavior as the host advised participants to turn off the extra lights and devices to save electricity and make the meeting cost-friendly. Also, improve the environment by wasting less energy and reducing pollution, including noise pollution.

The potential of the virtual platform to support sustainable practices

There are online courses and webinars that allow healthcare professionals to learn more and provide all the required data instead of traveling to get the knowledge people can get by using virtual platforms. The data remains available for generation after generation, thus making it an effective tool. This allows every participant to participate in question-and-answer sessions involving healthcare professionals, stakeholders, policymakers, and organizational members. 

Enhancing Connectivity and Knowledge Sharing

The virtual platform has broken the border limits, as people from one corner of the country to another corner of the other country can easily communicate with anyone. There are many communication ways, such as video conferences, voice calls, virtual workshops, and quick messaging. People communicate and connect regardless of cultural, social, or time differences.

Virtual platforms allow peers and professionals to share essential knowledge; this is a platform where everyone can share information or gain knowledge. Webinars, presentations, and online workshops effectively enhance society's well-being.

On the virtual platform, there is no limit to speaking or joining. Professionals, panelists, pharmaceutical companies' agents, and anyone else can participate in the meeting. Inclusivity and diversity make the platform more valuable and effective in fostering a vibrant global healthcare community.

 

Challenges and Future Directions

There are a few challenges that participants may have to face using virtual platforms, such as the following.

  • Some participants have a poor internet connection, limiting their use of virtual platforms. In online meetings, it is difficult to ensure that all attendees are active and participate fully in the meeting. There are fewer opportunities for good communication and relationship building.

Strategies

Make sure every participant has a strong internet connection and device availability. Subsidies such as internet devices or access to the internet should be provided to all the participants who lack them. To engage the audience, there is a need to conduct Q&A sessions and polls and offer opportunities for all the participants to participate equally in the meeting and discussion. There is a need to encourage members to build good relationships with each other and share their experiences.

Future trends in virtual event technology

Here are a few emerging trends in virtual event technology, which are expected to create a paradigm shift in boosting the healthcare system.

  • Virtual reality (VR)
  • Augmented reality(AR)
  • Data analytics (DA)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Hybrid event models 

Conclusion

The post-COVID world has urged the healthcare industry to adopt a tremendous shift from traditional meetups to digital platforms. Leveraging virtual platforms to conduct meetings and share experiences and knowledge to seek solutions is advantageous. There are a few challenges to leveraging virtual platforms, such as internet issues, browsing issues, or device availability. However, digital platforms seem a sustainable solution to traditional meetups, marked with excessive traveling needs, cost issues, and time constraints. Furthermore, these platforms provide an opportunity for healthcare stakeholders to foster global collaboration in the healthcare industry without unnecessary traveling needs.

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