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Exploring Patients Included Conferences

Have you heard of the Patients Included charter and designation for conferences? Patients Included is a minimum standard for conferences of what should be done to ensure patients are able to get the most out of the event possible.
There are also Patients Included charters for journals, patient information resources, and ethics—and others in the works. 1 Making Patients Included at medical and healthcare conferences is important, as it allows a broader depth to the discussion by including the core “user” of the service into the conversation

What are the requirements for Patients Included conferences?
The Charter provides 5 “minimum” standards for inclusion of patients in conference proceedings—of course, conferences can do even more to get patients involved and fully included in the discussion. 2 Each point is drawn from the Patients Included Charter for Conferences 2.

  • Participate in design of the conference. Patients and caregivers are included from day one in designing the conference; we are not an after-thought!
  • Participate in delivery (presentations) and audience. Patients are both on-stage and in the audience of the event.
  • Scholarship funds are provided. Conference fees, travel and accommodation expense are covered by the conference organizer—this includes admission, social events (if desired by the attendee), airfare/train tickets/mileage, and ground transportation.
  • Participant disability/medical needs are accommodated. All sessions are accessible to all patients in terms of both entrance restrictions and physical space.
  • Virtual Patients Included. Patients who may not be able to attend in person can contribute to conversations via social media, and where possible, free streaming of conference proceedings online.

Conference organizers can go beyond these core principles to enhance patient and caregiver inclusion at conferences. For example, if there is a large patient/caregiver delegation at a conference, a networking social event or space can be provided for patients to meet one another.

Patients Included means meeting the needs of your participants. For example, if a caregiver needs to attend, their expenses should also be covered alongside the patient participant. For those of us with asthma, it may mean having a sent aware policy for the event and/or a fragrance-free viewing area to accommodate patients with medical conditions triggered by these things. I will go into “Doing Patients Included Right” in my next article.

Making an event Patients Included does not have to be difficult—by including patients, we do a bit better at ensuring conferences are accessible to all, not just doctors and other healthcare professionals. As well, including patients opens the doors to including other populations like students, allowing for an even greater diversity among conference attendees, and greater nuance to the discussions at hand.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.