Index of leading medical meetings will track industry trends
Just as the Dow Jones Industrial Average is used to judge the movements of the stock market, the new HCEA 100 Index is designed to be a barometer for the medical conventions industry.
The HCEA 100 Index, established by the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association, was unveiled before a record crowd at HCEA's annual meeting, held June 9 to 12 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Eight hundred people attended the meeting, besting the previous high mark of 740, established last year in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The index comprises the 100 most significant, as determined by HCEA staff, says Eric Allen, executive vice president at HCEA. “We wanted to identify an index of meetings that are bellwethers, representative of the industry as a whole, as well as recognized leaders in the industry,” he says. “It was really a question of: Are they widely perceived as the leading meeting in their therapeutic category?” adds Allen, explaining the thought process of selecting the 100 meetings. “It was a combination of art and science.”
Size was not the defining criterion, he says. While the meetings had to be at least national or international in scope, the index is not necessarily the 100 largest medical meetings. “There are probably some meetings out there that are larger than some of the ones we selected, but this list focuses on scientific meetings rather than medical trade shows, although there is a sampling of those in there as well,” Allen says.
The list also concentrates on meetings that attract HCEA members as exhibitors. “There can certainly be good healthy debate about whether any meeting that we study is the best or not, but at least it puts a stake in the sand to which others can react,” Allen says. The 100 will be reviewed and updated from time to time to make sure the leading medical meetings are represented.
While HCEA officials are currently hammering out what exactly will be measured in the index, certainly the basics — attendance, number of exhibitors, square footage of exhibit space — will be tracked. But they may also drill down for more specific information, such as international attendance and the percentage of attendees visiting the exhibit floor.
The idea is that the meetings in the index, because they are considered leaders, will provide predictive value in terms of trends. “There are some differences between how these meetings are performing and how the industry at large is performing,” Allen says. These meetings are likely be a gauge for where the larger industry is headed a year or two from now. “We believe these meetings will provide a very important barometer and an opportunity to be more proactive than reactive about the health of this industry,” says Allen.
The association will issue a report at least once a year on trends in the HCEA 100, and perhaps more often than that. Having trend data is critical to quantifying the value of medical meetings to exhibitors, says Allen. “This industry has an outstanding story to tell, but we've got to tell it in a more data-driven fashion,” he says. Earlier this year, HCEA came out with a survey that analyzed trends in the medical meetings business over the past 10 years. For MM's report on the survey, visit meetingsnet.com/medicalmeetings and search for “Industry Returns to Normal.”
Introducing… The HCEA 100
Here is a sample of the organizations included in the HCEA 100. For the full list, go to www.meetingsnet.com and search for “HCEA Index.”
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons
American College of Cardiology
American College of Emergency Physicians, Scientific Assembly
American College of Physicians
American Dental Association
American Heart Association, Scientific Sessions
American Pharmacists Association
American Psychological Association
American Society for Micro- biology-General Meeting
American Society Of Plastic Surgeons
American Veterinary Medical Association
Healthcare Information & Man agement Systems Society
Radiological Society of North America, Inc.
Society of Nuclear Medicine
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners