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Getting the Most Out of the Virtual Annual Meeting Platform

November 15, 2021

And Why the Virtual Platform Is a Critical Part of the In-Person Experience, Too

Nearly two years into the global pandemic, many of us are fully adept at logging into virtual meeting spaces and engaging with content and speakers from offices and armchairs around the world. In 2020, ASH took great steps to make the annual meeting a well-rounded experience, featuring the high-quality sessions and events that were familiar to regular attendees, but customized for an all-virtual audience. In 2021, the Society sought out ways to build on these enhancements and customizations, making the in-person and virtual meetings as unified as possible, enabling in-person participants to safely inch back to a sense of normalcy, and helping virtual attendees feel as though they are right there in Atlanta, too.

One of the best features of the 2021 ASH Annual Meeting is the availability of the virtual platform (annualmeeting.hematology.org) to all who register. Beginning with Preview Days on Wednesday, December 8 (see more below), all annual meeting registrants can access the meeting platform, using the ASH username and password used to register.

Once you’re on the platform, you’ll find a wealth of on-demand content, networking tools, and other ways to stay connected. So whether you are attending virtually only, or perhaps participating in-person and then bingeing some oral sessions during the trip home, here are 10 features, tips, and events that will help ensure you get the most out of the virtual component of the 63rd ASH Annual Meeting.

1. Take Advantage of the Virtual Platform — Here, There, Everywhere

Wednesday, December 8 – Tuesday, December 14*

This might be the most important tip of all, as the 2021 ASH Annual Meeting is intended to be a fully hybrid experience for all who want to participate! That’s why everyone who registers can exercise the option of taking part virtually or in-person. Even the session presenters have the option to give their talks in-person or virtually.

It is strongly encouraged that in-person attendees explore the virtual platform to get the most out of your annual meeting experience. For example, you don’t need to worry about physically rushing from session to session. Grab your laptop and some headphones and enjoy that Live Q&A from outside or wherever you’re most comfortable. In fact, ASH has secured more-than-ample outdoor seating spaces and wi-fi around the Georgia World Congress Center for attendees who might want to catch a virtual session in the open air. The soles of your feet will thank you, and you can still capitalize upon your time in Atlanta by getting that long-awaited face-time with colleagues and friends.

Among the sessions you can enjoy virtually are:

  • Special-Interest Sessions with Live Q&A
  • Education Program and Scientific Program On-Demand Presentations and Live Q&A Sessions
  • Spotlight Sessions
  • Oral Abstract Sessions with Live Q&A
  • Poster Presentations
  • Award Lectures
  • Select Friday Satellite Symposia
  • Scientific Workshops
  • Exhibits and Industry including the Exhibit Hall
  • Corporate Presentations (Product Theaters, Industry Theaters, and Company Showcases)

 

*Everyone who registers gets complimentary access to the virtual meeting platform through January 1, 2022, with the option to extend access to the virtual meeting platform for an additional fee. See the “Registration” section on hematology.org/meetings/annual-meeting for more info.

2. Log in During Preview Days

Wednesday, December 8 – Thursday, December 9

Preview Days provide an opportunity to practice using the virtual meeting platform and become familiar with its features and navigation. Even if you attended in 2020, Preview Days are a great way to refresh your knowledge and learn about some of the new and enhanced elements. During Preview Days, all attendees are also encouraged to watch the orientation video for a quick overview, and also to preview prerecorded Education Program and Scientific Program sessions.

3. Join in on Live Q&A Sessions

Saturday, December 11 – Monday, December 13

While presentations from select Education and Scientific Program sessions can be viewed on demand beginning Wednesday, December 8, the Live Q&A sessions that accompany each session will be held from Saturday through Monday during the meeting. These sessions will consist of a brief summary of the full-length presentations, followed by live interactions with the presenters. To get the most out of these events, make sure you view the full-length, corresponding on-demand presentations prior to attending the Live Q&A sessions. CME credits can be claimed for viewing both the On-Demand and Live Q&A portions of qualifying Education and Scientific Program sessions. Attendees can claim CME credits for viewing live sessions while they are being broadcast or after they have concluded.

4. Don’t Miss the Scientific Workshops

Friday, December 10, 2:00-5:00 p.m. Eastern time (ET)

These workshops are interactive discussions of the latest scientific developments in a particular field of hematology and are not part of the official ASH annual meeting program. They are sponsored by ASH but are organized by and for members of the hematology community. Each workshop will be an in-person event in Atlanta and streamed live for virtual attendees. Recordings from each of the workshops will also be available on the virtual meeting platform through December 17, 2021. Because of their interactive format, it is recommended that you catch these sessions live!

2021 Scientific Workshop Topics:

  • Therapies for Sickle Cell Disease: The Windy Road to Curative Options
  • Epidemiology: Risk Assessment and Prediction-Discovery, Implementation, and Disparities
  • Germline Predisposition to Hematopoietic Malignancies and Bone Marrow Failure
  • Hematology and Aging
  • Hematology and Pregnancy
  • Interplay Between Coagulation and Malignancy
  • Myeloid Development
  • Streamlining Hematology Clinical Trials
  • Translational Molecular Diagnostics
  • Tumor Immune Interactions in Lymphoid Malignancies

 

5. See What the 2021 Exhibitors and Industry Have to Offer

In-person: Saturday, December 11, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Sunday, December 12, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Monday, December 13, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. ET

Virtual: Saturday, December 11 – Thursday, December 16

This year, in-person and virtual participants will find a range of opportunities to learn from and network with industry. If you’re attending in Atlanta, the exhibits are located in Hall B of the Georgia World Congress Center; on the virtual platform, click on ”Exhibits and Industry” to access the presentations and content listed below. Check the individual listings of Company Showcases, Industry Theaters, and Product Theaters for times and details on which presentations are available in-person or on the virtual platform.

Virtual Exhibit Hall. Features over 90 exhibitors representing pharmaceutical companies, medical suppliers, clinical diagnostic and research-based companies, publishers, and not-for-profit organizations, plus the latest technology and research and a wide range of products and services.

Select Friday Satellite Symposia (in-person and virtual). Industry-supported, CME-certified symposia that are offered on Friday, December 10. Visit hematology.org/meetings/annual-meeting/friday-satellite-symposia for the complete session listing.

ASH Pharmaceutical Pipeline Directory and Clinical Trials Directory. Provides health care professionals access to current information on the status of hematologic pharmaceuticals in development to encourage and stimulate meaningful dialogue with industry. The Pharmaceutical Pipeline Directory is a searchable resource containing current information on the status of hematologic pharmaceuticals in development. The Clinical Trials Directory is also fully searchable. This year-round resource can be found here and opens on November 1.

Corporate Presentations

Product Theaters. These are non-CME exhibitor presentations that feature new research findings relating to the development of approved pharmaceutical products to groups of annual meeting attendees. Product theaters will be offered Saturday, December 11, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET; Sunday, December 12, 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET; and Monday, December 3, 8:00-9:00 a.m. and 12:15-1:15 p.m. ET.

NEW: Industry Theaters. New this year, these non-CME, company-developed presentations on investigational products in pipeline or clinical trial phases, medical devices, medical technology, and patient treatment resources.

NEW: Company Showcases. Also new in 2021, these 15-minute promotional presentations provide an overview of services, clinical trials, or mission-based initiatives for a company, not-for-profit organization, or clinical research organization.

6. Build Your Schedule in Advance on the Platform or Mobile App

The annual meeting mobile app allows you to get a head start on building your schedule. Take some time in the weeks leading up to the meeting to browse and add sessions to your calendar; these favorited sessions will automatically appear under a “My Favorites” filter linked from your profile on the meeting platform when you first log on. (Note that sessions added to your schedule directly from the platform will not similarly transfer back to the app.) Treat these segments on your calendar as “protected” times, free from distractions and dedicated to learning and connecting.

The virtual meeting platform has some helpful tools to help you precisely locate the presentations you want to experience. Detailed filters are great for helping to narrow down available sessions, based on your areas of interest. On each session’s page, you can apply more filters to locate specific topics, or use the search bar to further narrow your results or search for a specific topic. Use Preview Days to get comfortable with quickly finding the content you want to see most.

Once you find your favorite sessions, the virtual meeting platform also features a few tools to help you stay organized and on track. When you identify a session of interest, you can select “Export to Calendar” to add the session to your personal Outlook, iCal, or Google Calendar. For live sessions, the pre-determined air dates will populate in the calendar appointment automatically, but for on-demand sessions you can adjust the session date and time so that you remember to come back and view the session at your convenience. You can also select “Add to My Schedule” to add a session to a self-contained virtual meeting schedule with all of your sessions of interest. Find this tool by navigating to the “Schedule” area of your virtual meeting account.

7. Binge Watch!

Saturday, December 11 – Friday, December 17 (and beyond!)

Netflix, who? Catch the on-demand recordings of all the live sessions and presentations you missed (or that earned a re-watch) earlier in the meeting. Depending on which registration option you choose, you can view and re-view on-demand content all the up until March 1, 2022.

8. Take Part in the ASH Foundation Run/Walk

In-person: Sunday, December 12, 7:00 – 9:00 a.m., Park Avenue/Centennial Olympic Park

Virtual: Friday, November 27 – Friday, December 11

This year is all about choices, and you can take part in the 2021 ASH Foundation Run/Walk in Atlanta, or wherever you are. Virtual participants can run or walk a 3K or 5K route anytime between December 5 and December 19, 2021. Get started by visiting hematology.org/foundation/run-walk and clicking the “Register Now” link to sign up and learn more about the virtual option.

Proceeds from all individual and group registration fees, as well as additional individual donations, will benefit the ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative Fund and Career Development and Training Fund.

9. Take Advantage of New and Enhanced Networking Features

Wednesday, December 8 – Tuesday, December 14

Face time with colleagues is one of the most anticipated aspects of the annual meeting. But you don’t need to be in Atlanta to enjoy those enriching connections. In addition to social media (see this year’s social media guide), updates and enhancements to the virtual meeting platform enable participants to schedule and host video chat meetings with each other and contribute to the ASH Community Collage. Connect with participants via the “Networking” page to find your friends and colleagues, and from there you can instant message with them or set up one-on-one virtual video chats, or organize larger group discussions for up to 50 people.

Hallway Conversations is another unique virtual networking tool named after the familiar hallway “buzz” of dialogue in between session times. These casual, discussion-board-style conversations can be enjoyed by large groups of attendees. While a variety of pre-set clinical and scientific topics are available, you’re welcome to start your own conversations, too!

Making a triumphant return this year, Watch with Friends and Colleagues is a feature unique to the ASH annual meeting platform that launched last year. Why watch alone when you can invite your mentees, collaborators, or friends to watch together and share your thoughts in real time?

10. Participate in ASH Poster Walks

Wednesday, December 15, – Friday, December 17

After the core meeting dates, you’ll want to return to the platform for poster walks highlighting sets of up to six posters on a specified topic, curated by ASH. Poster authors and key opinion leaders will engage in a panel discussion on the significance of the research presented, followed by a live Q&A. Poster presentations this year will be shared via a brief PowerPoint presentation, along with accompanying audio, and it is advised that you view the video presentations prior to the live walk time. This year’s topics include Clinical Trials in Progress; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Hematologic Malignancies and Cell Therapy; Emerging Research in Immunotherapies; Financial Toxicity in Hematologic Malignancies; Geriatric Hematology Clinical Science; Healthcare Quality Improvement; Natural Killer Cell–Based Immunotherapy; Pediatric Non-malignant Hematology Highlights; Spectrum of Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research; and What's Hot in Sickle Cell Disease. For more on each Poster Walk, visit the annual meeting virtual platform.

In Conclusion...

If you’re attending the meeting virtually this year, remember to carve out protected time to devote just to the meeting, use the Preview Days to explore the platform’s features on your own, and with that, you are well on your way to a great experience. See you virtually!

 

Help Is Here When You Need It!

If you are having difficulty accessing the virtual meeting platform, please contact the ASH Customer Relations Department by emailing customerservice@hematology.org or calling 866-828-1231 (U.S. toll free) or 001-202-776-0544 (for International callers), Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.

If you have successfully accessed the platform but are having difficulty with one of its features, please use either the online Chatbot, Help, or Contact Us link features within the platform for technical assistance.

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