Imagine you hold ultra-exclusive continuing medical education conferences throughout the year with waitlists of around 600 physicians. The coronavirus pandemic hits and stops you in your tracks. You can no longer hold your events due to mandated social distancing, but you have knowledge of common drugs that may make patients more prone to getting COVID-19. It’s more important than ever to get your message out.
The Foundation for Research and Education in Dermatology (FRED) was in this situation.
FRED is an education group serving dermatologists, dermatology physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and residents in training to become board-certified. It needed to get information out fast about the ever-changing COVID-19 outbreak, especially around concerns that some drugs used to treat psoriasis may make patients more prone to contracting the virus.
FRED turned to Mediasite Events to reach dermatologists with streaming video so that they could receive the timely information they need to treat patients.
“Mediasite Events has helped us take our events online in the past. Since those were so successful and we knew the technology worked well, we knew that’s what we needed to do. The team produced a live educational video for us with just three days’ notice,” said Dr. Darrell Rigel, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at New York University Medical Center and a FRED scientific co- director.
FRED hosted the live video with Dr. Mark Lebwohl, one of the scientific co-directors of FRED and an expert in psoriasis. He discussed the rapid growth of the coronavirus crisis and the impact that some drugs used to treat psoriasis may have, such as making users more prone to contracting COVID-19.
Regardless of the social restrictions amid COVID-19, FRED still put on a live event. Attendees and presenters all dialed in to an interactive presentation via Mediasite.
“The beauty of it is you see the split screen with the speaker and the slides. It’s not like watching a slide presentation, it’s very interactive with Mediasite. The other part that was amazing is Dr. Lebwohl was in New York, I’m in Colorado, we have technical people in other parts of New York, Mediasite Events is in Wisconsin, and nobody noticed it,” Rigel said. “It was a seamless and impressive way to deliver content.”
With Mediasite Events, FRED saw its online conference viewership skyrocket.
“At the peak, we had 1,900 people that were watching. There are only 10,000 dermatologists in the whole country, to put in perspective,” Rigel said. “That’s almost 20 percent of dermatologists in the United States that dialed into that webcast, and another 15 percent watched after on-demand. Pretty amazing.”
Mediasite Events went way beyond giving FRED’s online audience streaming video, though. Viewers submitted 163 questions via Mediasite during the hour-long event. FRED couldn’t get through all the questions in one session, so they planned another event. After just one promotional email about it, 1500 people registered.
Rigel said the national psoriasis group was so happy that this information got out to dermatologists treating patients and that they collaborated with FRED.
“In dermatology, if you get 50 people signed up that’s great. To get 300-500 like we have in our typical hybrid fall conferences, that’s unheard of. To get 1,883 people signed on was like winning the World Series or the Superbowl. That’s the level of greatness. Mediasite Events made that happen,” Rigel said.
FRED is now planning to take other courses and conferences to an online audience.
They held an annual review course in April for dermatology residents preparing to take the board exams. They had 150 residents sign up for the traditional in-person class, but after re-releasing it as a virtual event, they had over 500 registrants — out of a total of 600 people taking the exam and an additional 300 registrants taking the exam next year.
“The conference business is greatly impacted from the coronavirus, but by using technology like Mediasite, we’ve actually moved ahead and done things we’ve never done before. Plus, we’ve reached larger audiences in the process. We are looking at these opportunities more intently even after the virus is over because streaming video is a lot more efficient use of everyone’s time to spread knowledge,” Rigel said.
He continued: “To other organizations trying to keep communications going, I recommend thinking outside the box. The world is changing, and the technology is out there. We’ve been very pleased with Mediasite Events, and our virtual attendees have been even more pleased to have the opportunity to stay connected. It’s a lot easier than you think. Mediasite Events is a fantastic partner and we are already thinking about more opportunities to use streaming video in our day-to-day work when things get back to normal.”