by Serefnur Ozturk and Jan Kuks
When coming back from international congresses, it happens to be asked by our patients if we have heard about new innovative and highly effective treatments or new research about specific neurological diseases…
Well, break-through news may be presented during our neurological congresses, but for the whole, congresses are a great opportunity for exchanging ideas, meeting colleagues, and upgrading knowledge. On the other hand, poster sessions at congresses can be one of the best venue for young scientists to present original and important work. Nevertheless, for the congress organizers can be very challenging to optimise poster presentations in terms of space and timeline, avoiding to create large poster areas and yet offering a chance to all scientists to disseminate their achievements.
Before being allowed to present a poster during the EAN-meetings, candidates have their abstracts going into a selection-process with many reviewers involved. Once their abstract has been accepted, they have the possibility to send an electronic version to be presented with an oral clarification at one of the special poster-sessions, where several stands are set up for presentation of about 10 posters to a 20-people audience.
Is this an effective formula or should we look for more effective procedures? This can be learned from the answers coming from survey questions.
After the 2016 EAN congress in Copenhagen 42% of the 1,158 attendants have replied to our survey about poster sessions. They were mainly neurologists, men more than women, and with a homogeneous age distribution. We have extrapolated some hard data about the sessions: more than half (54%) was clearly positive about the quality of the posters; attendance to poster sessions was considered good by 64%; the equipment was appreciated by about 60%, the time schedule by 70%; the role of the chair by 85%, and the possibility of interaction by 50%. However, the sound equipment was poorly judged and strongly recommended to be improved.
Moreover, not everyone was satisfied with the e-poster-procedure, and somebody suggested to go back to hard-copy posters, being accessible easily and for a longer term beyond the session. Most of the presenters felt themselves considered as an important part of the congress (75%), found their forum attractive to present their research (80%), and wanted to present their research-findings again at future EAN congresses (85%). Presenting a poster should be a way to get yourself in contact with others; more than half (55%) of the presenters felt that they were successful with respect to this. A disappointing low number of participants stated that they used the opportunity to contact authors and presenters by the online system. This might be because the link is not known and it is therefore useful to mention this here once again as it remains available after the congress. So, try it now, you will like it!
Serefnur Ozturk (Dept of Neurology Selçuk University Konya Turkey)
Jan Kuks (Dept of Neurology University Medical Centre Groningen The Netherlands)