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Few of the medical professionals at the sixth annual MS Symposium may have realized that they were among the early users of an app that could change the way meetings and symposiums are conducted forever.
The TevaScience app was available to all those attending the conference, including participants from Belgium, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, on mobile devices and iPads. Although this was the sixth MS Symposium, it was only the second outing for the app, as Nils Gamlem, Teva’s Country Medical Manager for Norway and CNS Medical Advisor explains. “The first time was in Copenhagen [in 2017] and our primary aim was to make it easy for the participants to get information,” he says. “We wanted to keep them up to date with the program and locations, and all the different speakers. Essentially, all the things that we used to print on paper and hand out, we put in the app.”
One great advantage of an app over ink and paper is that it can keep participants and attendees fully apprised of any changes to the program. But that’s only the beginning of what the TevaScience app can do.“We’d used an app developed by a company called SpotMe at an internal event,” says Gamlem. “What we saw was that this was a great way to organize a meeting. Also, during the meeting, we can do voting polls to interact with the speaker, and you can provide feedback in real time. We thought this would be great for the Symposium, to move us into the future and to provide a place to share information that was accessible to the whole conference.”Gamlem and his team turned to SpotMe to develop an app for the 2017 Copenhagen MS Symposium. “We started with all the practical things that they should have access to on their phone,” says Gamlem, “such as the agenda, which we can revise and keep people up to date.” Then they started to add more features. “Many of the things we wanted SpotMe had already tried,” Gamlem says, “so they knew what was feasible. We may be experts in science, but not in the technology behind an app like this.”During a meeting, for example, the app allows participants to view a presenter’s slides on their own portable devices, and even make their own notes on the slides. After the meeting, the entire presentation, plus individual notes, is made available to download to iPad or computer. “This is a feature we got a lot of positive feedback on,” Gamlem says.
Another innovative feature is interaction. “During the meeting, we encouraged people to vote using the TevaScience app,” says Gamlem. “We primed the speakers to include three or four questions during their presentations that could be posed straight to the audience. This direct interaction, with live polls during a meeting, was a key feature for us. It proved very popular with people at the Symposium, so much so that nearly all of them used the app.”The 60 medical professionals who attended the sixth MS Symposium during January 2018 provided useful and informative feedback about the TevaScience app. “People said they felt more involved, that the normal one-way communication had become a two-way process as a result of the app,” says Gamlem. “Also in the question and answer sessions they could write their questions directly in the app; not all participants were comfortable raising their hands to ask a question in front of a big audience, and the ability to ask questions without being in the spotlight via the app suited these people really well.”After the Copenhagen MS Symposium 2017, Gamlem and the TevaScience team began to consider new features in preparation for the 2018 Stockholm event. “We were sure that this was something that we should move forward with,” says Gamlem. This year, for the first time, the app reached out to those people who were unable to attend in person.
“In the first app, there was no live streaming,” Gamlem says, “but we saw that because of limitations on travel or because of a simple scheduling conflict, there was the possibility of bringing the meeting to people who couldn’t be there in person. We made videos of the event anyway, so live streaming wasn’t much of a leap. The important thing is to build the platform around the meeting concept, to keep people involved. We actually had viewers for the live stream from quite a few countries.”The next milestone for the TevaScience app will be its use beyond the MS Symposium and Nordic countries. “Next year we plan to expand these interactive conferences from the field of MS to migraine as well,” Gamlem says. “We can broaden its scope to be a connected platform for all kinds of different meetings, and all you have to do is choose which ones you are going to participate in. “This is why we called it the TevaScience app, because although it was developed for the MS Symposium, it has applications in many of our areas of interest. That’s the idea, that it should not be limited.”TevaScience could even soon make an appearance at a Teva meeting near you. “Right now this is for the Nordic region,” Gamlem says. “But there’s no reason why it couldn’t be expanded to different countries to serve Teva wherever we operate.”NPS-ALL-NP-00017 MAY 2018