The decision to make the 2021 ANZCA ASM fully virtual wasn’t an easy one for our Regional Organising Committee to make. But with community transmission of COVID still a clear and present risk, they didn’t exactly have a choice.
Luckily, problem solving and preparing for unforeseen circumstances are par for the course as an anaesthetist. And if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Or at least a workaround! With ASM Convenor Dr Christine Ball at the helm, and our highly skilled ANZCA Events team on hand, the committee were able to quickly turn every challenge into an opportunity.
They engaged conference audio visual and production specialists Wallfly to develop a bespoke virtual platform that enabled us to offer a record-breaking volume of scientific content this year to an unlimited number of delegates in any location and for an extremely attractive registration fee.
For the first time this year, delegates didn’t have to decide what concurrent sessions to join; they could access all 95+ hours of core content on demand. And not just for the duration of the eight-day event, but for the following 12 months. In fact, delegates are still registering days after the closing plenary, and can do so until July.
The program provided an array of after-work and evening plenaries, ASM@Night – another ASM first, and one designed to accommodate the needs of time-stretched specialist doctors. Our HCI partners were able to engage with delegates in a range of novel ways, including face-to-face video conferencing appointments and promotional podcasts.
And even the all-important social activities our ASMs are famous for were not entirely absent from the program, with everything from gin tasting to yoga available.
Even the College Ceremony – a hallowed ANZCA rite of passage and highlight of every ASM – was able to take place in person at ENGAGE hubs in all Australian state capitals bar Perth (which, regrettably, was plunged into COVID lockdown a few days earlier), as well as Auckland and Hong Kong.
In short, this was an extraordinary effort by any measure. And one that has unequivocally set the standard for scientific meetings in the “new normal”. So please join us in congratulating everyone involved in making #ASM21MEL our most memorable meeting ever.
The meetings might be finished now, but the content will continue to be available to all delegates until April 2022. And if you haven’t registered, it’s still not too late! We’re accepting registrations for the next three months.