Any health care practitioner that has attended a national medical meeting knows that these events can be overwhelming.
There are lectures to hear, posters to see, exhibits to experience, training courses to attend, colleagues to meet – all during what may be your first time in a new city. Conferences are increasingly turning to apps to help attendees make the most of their experience.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is utilizing the AAOS Events app for their 2014 Annual Meeting. With the AAOS annual meeting around the corner, here we will look to see if this app is worth your time.
As medical meetings become more technologically inclined, the mobile event app is going to play a crucial role in executing a successful meeting. Meeting organizers need to reach attendees quickly with meeting updates, transportation services, networking options, center navigation maps, and meeting content. These are significant obstacles; for example, they often require a complex mobile app design.
This app is designed for healthcare practitioners attending the AAOS Orthopaedics 2014 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The app opens with a matrix of items on the Main menu. There are quick buttons related to aspects of the meeting: Program, Exhibitors, Presenters, Maps, Disclosures, Social Media, Info Book, Search, and Webcasts. Swiping to the left reveals two more icons: City of New Orleans and Networking.
Clicking the tab in the upper left corner gives a left-sided pull out menu with personalized information. This information is available once a user signs up for a free CrowdCompass ID. This ID is needed to bookmark and interact with some app features. On this pull out screen, the user can access their meeting schedule, notes, and meeting contacts.
Click the Event Guide tab on the pull out menu to return to the Main menu. The Program icon has all of the meeting event courses and lectures including the poster and scientific exhibit presentation information and times. Documents can be downloaded from the presentation to your mobile device. You can navigate the program section by day, session type, classification, or speaker to find topics of interest. Click Add to Schedule to add the event to your personalized schedule found in the left pull out menu from the main screen.
The Exhibitor icon has similar information related to the various industry participants attending the meeting. The Presenters icon is an extension of the information in the Program icon and allows for easily searching for a presenter’s name and finding their associated projects. There is no right sided alphabet for jump-to searching–the name is either found by scrolling through a list or typing in the name. Programs, Exhibits, and Presenters can all be bookmarked after making a CrowdCompass ID for quick reference in the future. You can also add personalized notes to these topics for future review or reminders. The Disclosures icon links to the AAOS website to search various presenters disclosure information.
The Maps icon has many useful maps of the convention center, hotel pocket guide, and city of New Orleans.
When searching through Exhibitors, many will link to the Maps program to show where the Exhibitor is located on the showroom floor. This would be a nice feature for the program locations as well and is in development.
The Info Booth has many useful links to meeting information. Many of these links are connected through web pages, but they still have useful information on ePosters, eScientific Exhibits, schedules, and weather updates. You can also book transportation to and from the convention center through the Info Booth icon.
The Webcast Icon allows users to connect through the AAOS website to view, schedule, and stream content from the meeting. The City of New Orleans icon links to the city homepage for local city news.
The most important aspect of a mobile meeting app is to deliver information, so the user can be in the correct location, at the correct time, with the correct resources for the event. The CrowdCompass Mobile Event App does this beautifully and to a new level compared to previous mobile event apps. There is, however, room for improvement.
There are some features that would be nice to see in an event app. Integrating the meeting content with the maps function to assist in arriving at a location would have been a nice feature. Similarly, pushing scheduled events in the app to the calendar would facilitate combining participants schedules during the meeting. Allowing for more downloadable content to the mobile device and using the mobile app for audience participation and feedback would be great additions for meeting organizers.
Gone are the days of carrying a large meeting booklet in a bag, a convention map in your pocket, or taking a smartphone picture of the bus schedule to get back to your hotel on time. All of this information, and much more, is conveniently located in one mobile app.
- The app includes a comprehensive set of information covering meeting content and logistics.
- The app is updated regularly with new information.
- The app has the ability to schedule your meeting events and get to these locations within the convention center.
- There is so much information and useful resources in this app, it requires some exploration to become familiar with the many utilities.
- The program content does not completely link to the map locations and can complicate finding meeting locations.
- The app calendar does not sync to the personal calendar.
- No system for audience participation or feedback during meeting programs.
Healthcare workers that would benefit from the app
- Any orthopedic healthcare worker attending the AAOS 2014 Annual Meeting or organizer that is looking for an app for their meeting or convention.
- The AAOS Mobile Event App is comprehensive and immensely useful to participants attending the AAOS Annual Meeting.
- Furthermore, the app demonstrates the great benefits and assistance mobile technology can provide to anyone organizing a medical meeting or conference.
- Although the app has simplified and consolidated much of the complexity involved in attending a national medical meeting, the wealth of content in the app still requires some exploration by new users before becoming familiar with all of the available app resources.
Type of Device used to review app: iPhone 5
Version of App: 1.5
Rating: (1 to 5 stars): 5/5
- User Interface: 4/5 – The information is presented in a matrix and list format interface that is easy to navigate. Many of the icons can require additional logins and screen sizing issues, but the transition is executed well. Scheduled events in the app are not pushed to the user’s personal calendar. This means checking a daily itinerary requires looking in at least two places.
- Multimedia usage: 5/5 – This app uses many mobile app technologies. It easily crosses over into other documents, social medial, scheduling, and website applications that interface through the app. The transitions are smooth and engaging. The link to webcasts also integrates well through the AAOS Website.
- Price: 5/5 – The application is free and there are no in-app purchases.
- Real world applicability: 5/5 – This is an impressive application that is changing how large and national medical meetings are organized and executed.
Nathan Skelley is an orthopaedic surgery resident at Washington University in St. Louis/Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He was born and raised in Joplin, Missouri where he developed his interest in mobile health technologies and orthopaedics. After attending Cornell University, where he majored in Science and Technology studies, he earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Nathan Skelley works to integrate mobile health technologies in his treatment of orthopaedic sports injuries.
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the app’s validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.