Skip navigation

An Emergent Need: Wellness Programs for HCP Attendees

Physician stress and burnout is at unprecedented levels, but life-science companies have opportunities to help practitioners through self-care activities and education at their meetings.

Consider this: If more than 90 percent of your company’s employees reported feeling “burned out on a regular basis,” more than 60 percent were considering leaving the industry altogether, and one in ten had actually considered suicide at some point, would management act swiftly and decisively to address the situation? Of course.

Unfortunately, there is a group of professionals for whom those staggering figures are a reality: physicians. A recent survey of doctors by AthenaHealth
discovered the first two scenarios, while a 2021 survey from the physician-advocacy group Disappearing Doctors illuminated the third.

Given that physicians are a prime audience for life-science companies—and one that’s central to investigator meetings, commercial meetings, and other events run by those firms—it would make sense that the issue of physician stress and burnout gets factored into those meetings in some way.

After all, the issue of wellness has gained a foothold across the rest of the corporate and association events landscape. Massage chairs; meditation rooms; yoga instruction; exercise, cooking, and painting classes; nature walks; juice and healthy-snack bars; and many other outlets for self-care are being incorporated into event agendas across every industry.

MM0324EliSananesEtherio.pngEli Sananes, managing director of the life-sciences division at Etherio Group, a MeetingsNet top 25 meetings agency, notes that for his firm’s clients “we're now sourcing meetings partly based on whether a property or location has areas where we can conduct wellness activities, because that's become part of each day’s program. In some cases, we have clients reducing the length of business sessions to give attendees time to do things that allow them to relieve stress.”

The Physician Conundrum
When it comes to physician attendees, though, those considerations have been different, Sananes says. “Companies feel they’ve got a short window of time and opportunity with them. They're trying to get doctors in and out as quickly and conveniently as possible, using properties near an airport” and leaving any non-business-related elements out of the agenda.

Given the significant stress that most physicians endure, however, it would probably behoove life-science firms to reconsider their approach. “I think that the wellness process and activities that are happening at our sales and commercial-related meetings are going to be rolled out for doctors before long,” Sananes says. “It's something we are going to recommend to clients more often, because we’re all in that wellness mindset now.”

There is another reason: Agendas that have some focus on stress relief and self-care could affect physicians’ decisions on which meetings to attend. A group of doctors who attended Informa Connect’s Pharma Forum conference last year noted that they receive 30 to 35 event invitations a year but can only accept three or four. And a recent survey from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 60 percent of physicians take less than 15 days of vacation per year, and most do not stop handling patient needs entirely when on vacation. A meeting with self-care activities, then, might be rather appealing.

So, whether it’s offering yoga, meditation, and other classes, or hosting moderator-led peer-group discussions, or facilitating one-on-one consultations with counselors who help physicians create a personalized stress-relief plan, there is ample opportunity for life-science firms to offer meeting elements that address a critical need among the physicians they rely upon for business, and whom society relies upon for its health.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.