The Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) recently completed their 87th Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey. I had the honor to attend this meeting and learn about a unique meeting app that AsMA has been using for a few years. I have previously reported on medical meeting apps for orthopaedic surgery meetings averaging approximately 20,000-30,000 attendees. The AsMA meeting serves approximately 1,500 – 2,000 attendees. They decided to use a meeting app designed by Gather Digital. The meeting’s executive director, Jeff Sventek, has done an excellent job integrating AsMA content into Gather Digital’s template for their meeting app.
Since iMedicalApps readers are probably regular users of medical meeting apps and in many cases involved in their design, here are some features that caught my attention that made this a particularly useful medical meeting app.
This medical meeting app opens with a homepage image of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. A nice feature of the app was a constantly updated message board on the homescreen that could present meeting updates, messages, and reminders to attendees when they open the app. This section was also updated during the meeting as events changed throughout the week. On the upper left side, is a pull out tab featuring all of the app sections. The app has sections on Events, Exhibitors, Schedules, AsMA information, Local Links, Messages, Maps, and Speakers.
The AsMA information tab is very transparent. They provide information on the organization, the association Bylaws, and information on access to all the recorded meeting content. Executive meetings are also listed in the app schedules for all attendees to review.
The app even has information unrelated to the meeting content, but related to local activities around the meeting site. I noticed that several family members, exhibitors, and non-healthcare related personnel were using this information to explore the meeting area of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
For meeting attendees, the “Events” tab was the most powerful and most utilized feature of the app. For the meeting size and content, this Events tab was organized very well. At the top of the screen, the user can select the day they are interested in viewing. The content is then presented in a simple timeline fashion for the day. The user has the option to apply filters based on their interests in areas such as aerospace medicine, clinical medicine, human performance, and other focus areas. This was great for attendees that wanted to attend certain types of events throughout the meeting based on a similar theme or topic. These meeting tracks were followed by many people that had a special focus, or by new members and first-time attendees that wanted to experience certain aspects of the meeting.
Also on the Events tab, the sessions with panel discussions or multiple presenters would open with more information on those sessions. The user can see the presentation abstracts and presenter information. If the user is planning to attend a certain event, they can save the session to their “My Schedule” feature of the app. The user can also select the “Map” icon to see where the session is going to occur on a convention center map.
The map is very detailed and in the PDF format allows for zoom features and moving around to help localize the session location. Downloading this information was much faster and smoother than similar meeting apps I have used.
With one click, the user can “save” an event or session to the “My Schedule” feature of the app. With this feature, they can then just refer to the My Schedule section of the app to see their planned sessions and meeting schedule for that day. This option made planning the meeting schedule for the week very simple. Users could also sync the information with their mobile device calendar if they had other personal events such as lunches and dinner events they were attending during the meeting.
Information on distinguished guests and speakers was also located in the app, but there was no mention of the scientific presenters throughout the week. Similarly, there was no search feature to find scientific speakers that the user may be interested in seeing during the meeting. Even with these missed features, the AsMA meeting app worked very well for the AsMA meeting and enhanced the meeting experience.
One final note, the meeting’s executive director, Jeff Sventek, organized an app tutorial on the first day for members that were not familiar with the app. Attendees quickly understood the app and could use the numerous features independently. This was a great testament to Gather Digitals platform and the simplicity of their app design.
Overall, this medical meeting is a great example of how these apps can enhance the experience of medical meetings.