Yehuda Handelsman, MD: Organizing a Hybrid Cardiometabolic Meeting in 2021

The TMIOA Medical Director and Principal Investigator discusses the idea behind hosting a mixed in-person and virtual conference for this year's Heart in Diabetes.

The state of medical meetings are in flux in 2021. Previous successes in mitigating COVID-19 spread, afforded by early vaccine-induced immunity, provided organizers confidence to schedule in-person conference through this fall.

But with COVID-19 cases surging in past months, some meetings reverted to fully virtual capacity. Others sought to retain some semblance of in-person presentation.

In an interview with HCPLive at the conclusion of The Metabolic Institution of America (TMIOA) Heart in Diabetes sessions in New York, NY this weekend, meeting organizer Yehuda Handelsman, MD, discussed the intricacies that go into preparing a hybrid conference amid COVID-19.

Handelsman, the Medical Director and Principal Investigator for TMIOA, also discussed how this year’s iteration of cardiovascular and metabolic meetings—such as the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and American Diabetes Association (ADA)—informed strategies for this year’s unique Heart in Diabetes sessions.

He stressed the meeting’s successes were based on TMIOA’s lesser following than such large-scale meetings, an appreciation for in-person sessions among a “Zoom fatigued” audience and, to an extent, luck. All presenters who initially committed to the in-person sessions did attend in New York; their virtual

“Virtual has its limits, even though it sounds easy,” Handelsman said. “We had several hundred people registered to come in person. I initially predicted that (registrants) would want no more than 150-200 people in attendance to get sort of (COVID-19 related) safety. We had just about 200 here.”