Exhibits Do Educate, Say Docs

“Exhibits aren't just a place to get a bag or trinket; they are places where attendees learn about the newest approved indications for drugs as well as new techniques and surgical devices,” said Kevin Wohlfort in the “Consult” column of Medical Meetings' July/August issue. Now there are some data to back up that statement by Wohlfort, who is director, development, industry relations, and exhibits with the American Urological Association in Baltimore, Md.

In the summer of 2002, the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association in Atlanta released findings of a survey of 197 physicians conducted before and after they attended the PRI-MED South Conference and Exhibition, held February 21 to 23 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Co-sponsored by and conducted in partnership with PRI-MED and Exhibit Surveys Inc., the survey found that while 90 percent of the physicians attended for education, 86 percent indicated that one reason they attended was for the exhibits. An overwhelming 80 percent of physicians also said they learned something new as a result of visiting the exhibits, and 82 percent said the exhibit floor provided “high value,” a 14 percent change to the positive from the pre-conference measure.

Other survey findings include:

  • 49 percent of physicians said they were more likely to recommend/prescribe a company's drugs after visiting the exhibit hall.

  • Drug and company familiarity each increased an average of 7 percent after visiting exhibits.

  • The average detail time in a doctor's office is 7.3 minutes; the average detail time in an exhibit is 4.7 minutes. The surveyed physicians also noted that there is a trend toward fewer rep visits than in previous years.

And look for more research on the topic in the coming year. Administrators for HCEA's two-year-old grant program were sifting through applications for a 2003 research project as of press time, with plans to announce the grantee in January. The program, which is available to graduate students interested in the field of healthcare marketing and exhibiting, offers a stipend up to $10,000.

In the meantime, HCEA members received a full report on the PRI-MED study results free of charge; the price for nonmembers is $995. For more information, contact HCEA at (404) 252-3663 or visit www.hcea.org [3].