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Mice Net : October 2008
news high-tech,high-touch at mega-meeting story By Miles Clarke The Sydney gaThering of the world’s leaders in transplant medicine was not only the largest meeting in australia this year, but groundbreaking in terms of the opportunities for learning on the part of its near 4500 delegates. O ver the life of the five day XXII International Congress of The Transplantation Society, the creative use of communications technology ensured that the presentations of the 1400 speakers had life long beyond their delivery. This was a return visit of the congress to Sydney, with more than double the number of delegates who registered in 1988. Technology was a focus for the organisers with every session available to medical scientists and researchers unable to attend. This was achieved by way of webcasts of plenary sessions and the ability to download audio podcasts complete with PowerPoint displays of nearly 1600 sessions. The downloads were password-protected and made available to members of the society and members of the Australia/New Zealand society. CEO of the organising PCO, The Meeting Planners, Karine Bulger, said they were determined at the outset to raise the bar for the organisation and management of the meeting. “The Transplant Society’s members are involved in the broadest spectrum of activity around the science and management of organ and tissue transplantation. It’s a complex and sometimes controversial topic and we had an Abstract Review Committee of 500 members worldwide in 49 abstract panels around the world to select our large panel of speakers,” she said. “This was achieved through a specially designed secure internet- based program to ensure the decision-making process could meet our deadlines for the development of the scientific program.” 6 mice.net The Meeting Planners (TMP) worked with their conference committee, led by Dr Jeremy Chapman, for more than five years. Alongside the conference management team, an additional separate program team was established who worked full-time for over a year on the management of the program. There were 2500 abstract submissions received via the online abstract system, of which 1500 were received within the final 48 hours. Adding another degree of complexity to the speaker process was the requirement from American medical authorities that each and every speaker was checked to ensure there was no conflict- of-interest issues surrounding their presentation. This was a requirement of the American Medical Association to ensure that their members could make bona fide claims for their continuing medical education programs (CME). TMP managed the process of all 2500 disclosures. The big hit of the meeting was the use of the ePresenter system, which was managed by Event Infotech. More than 700 authors took up the opportunity to have their work displayed on the ePresenter system, whereby their traditional poster presentations were displayed on a bank of 20 computer terminals. Delegates and reviewers were able to view all the poster presentations and communicate with authors through the interactive database. The authors were allowed a maximum of 10 slides and could edit them to within hours of their being presented. “This was the largest use of the ePresenter system yet undertaken