Pushing the digital frontier

The physical CAREhab 2020 was morphed into a virtual affair due to the pandemic, where the latter provided healthcare professionals with access to convenient learning, cross-sharing opportunities and networking activities

Hot idea
Develop a flexible and reliable virtual platform that can offer attendees the best possible experience online

Organised in partnership with the Society of Rehabilitation Medicine (Singapore), CAREhab 2020 was originally scheduled for February 2020.

While some large-scale events in Singapore managed to push through before the full blow of Covid-19, CAREhab’s participants – comprising physicians, residents, allied health professionals, full-time academics and healthcare innovators and providers ­– were faced with the sudden spike in daily frontline emergencies, and the event was postponed to July 2020.

However, as the number of confirmed cases continued to climb, SingEx decided to bring the event online. The CAREhab community expressed eagerness for continuous learning and connections that participants could establish in their own time, as well as updated information on the best practices and latest innovations in the rehab space.

To address these existing and newly-surfaced needs, SingEx set out to curate and design an event platform from scratch, which resulted in the creation of a CAREhab GO digital platform on which the entire two-day event was hosted.

More than 1,200 members of the healthcare community logged onto CAREhab GO, compared to just 900 in 2019. This year’s digital edition also saw greater international participation – 20 per cent of attendees represented more than 30 countries, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

The two-day live event featured keynotes, conference tracks, sandbox sessions, networking and collaborative activities, as well as a virtual exhibition showcase. Thanks to AI architecture, participants were provided personalised dashboards on the platform, which streamlined sessions based on each attendee’s indicated interests and fields of expertise.

Boosting the networking component were recommended connections between attendees based on mutual fields of interest, facilitating more than 200 meetings conducted over both days. The platform also offered video on demand, which allows delegates to access event content until 2021.

“We are seeing a huge appetite from the healthcare community, not just for learning and connecting, but also for unique experiences online,” noted James Boey, executive director of SingEx Exhibitions.

He continued: “With new demands placed upon them from Covid-19, it is essential for them to have access to continuous content and community engagement in their own time. Virtual offerings like CAREhab GO will become permanent augments to the physical when in-person events eventually return.”

Although SingEx had a suite of digital engagement tools that traditionally complemented its physical events, constructing a digital platform to host an entire event with long-term engagement features was an unprecedented move.

Emily Chong, content producer (project management), SingEx Exhibitions, described: “Adapting a two-day physical event into a digital platform was a race against time, not to mention adapting our own mindsets to think about engagement beyond a physical event. We also had to build trust from our stakeholders.”

The organising team pulled together its core of being customer-focused, and “combined with team spirit and grit”, and successfully launched CAREhab GO.

“The journey is only beginning as we navigate this new normal together with our partners, stakeholders and customers. We look forward to continuing the conversation as one community,” expressed Chong.

Event CAREhab 2020
Organiser SingEx Exhibitions and Society of Rehabilitation Medicine (Singapore)
Dates July 17-18, 2020
Attendance More than 1,200