5 Reasons I Expect Medical Conferences Will Become Obsolete In Ten Years – If They Don’t Change

I just got back from a medical conference -THE- nephrology conference in the world: the ASN renal week. When I left San Diego, I left with mixed feelings.

On the one hand I was glad I went, because I got to present our data. On the other hand I was really disappointed of many sessions, many of them were a complete waste of time.

In my opinion medical conferences could soon be obsolete. And here is why.

1. There is: “the internet”. 

The internet makes discussion, data presentation and networking easier than ever. Why should anyone fly thousands of miles to read and hear about things, they can access with two or three clicks?

Online conferences and forums like research gate allow anyone to participate (not only the ones, who get paid to go to conferences) in the discussion.

2. Presentations are  horrible.

Sorry I have to say this, but man: These presentations suck! They suck so bad, the only reason I wasn’t walking out of (most of) them was Free WiFi and the possibility to use my time more wisely than to listen to these „speakers“.

I write „speakers“ because most of them don’t speak, they read their text-filled slides word-by-word.  I do not see a point in listening to someone, who reads passages of a publication to me. I can do this myself, thank you!

Neither can I find a profit in looking at data-packed graphs for a couple of seconds.

If we don’t change the way we deliver data, I wouldn’t know why to attend a conference.

Any speaker delivering a medical presentation ought to look at a couple of TED talks or read one of these books on presentations.

I have also written a blogpost on that topic.

3. Most data that are presented have been presented elsewhere.

Many of the presentations consist of data before 2010. Maybe there is no newer data available. But why would I travel thousands of miles to listen to old data? Wouldn’t it be easier, faster and cheaper to read 5 reviews?

4. It’s expensive.

Companies don’t pay for conference visits anymore. Thus research money that is sparse has to be taken for that. (which of course is legitimate, because research data is presented there)

5. You don’t get that much attention. 

There are so many sessions, many of them are empty, which is disappointing for the speakers. If you want attention for your subject, a medical conference is probably not the best platform to choose.


Does that mean I will never attend a conference again? No. But there is going to be shift. Either the conferences will change their presentation style or attendees will quit, well,  attending.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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