Bengal Physician Journal
Volume 8 | Issue 1 | Year 2021

Virtual Meetings are Here to stay: A Commentary on Virtual Meetings and Conferences in COVID Times “Am I Audible? Are my Slides Visible?”—Most Heard Sayings in the Last One Year!

Partha S Ray

Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology NHS England at the Walton Centre for Neurology Liverpool; National Professor in Neurology, India

Corresponding Author: Partha S Ray, Consultant Neurologist and Clinical Neurophysiologist NHS England at the Walton Centre for Neurology Liverpool; National Professor in Neurology, India, Phone: +44 7759491315, e-mail:

How to cite this article: Ray PS. Virtual Meetings are Here to stay: A Commentary on Virtual Meetings and Conferences in COVID Times “Am I Audible? Are my Slides Visible?”—Most Heard Sayings in the Last One Year! Bengal Physician Journal 2021;8(1):12–14.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None


Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has had its share of evils that have been and continue to be so for all of us globally. Our lives as we used to know them prior to March 2020 have changed forever. The way we went about gathering in academic meetings to educate ourselves, present our work to others and meet people in our professional communities seems like from another era. We have now transitioned to the virtual format of medical conferences in league with all other professions taking on the advantages of the internet and the platforms that had been hitherto used for social communications in the last decade in a progressively finessed manner with seamless synchronous voice and video transmission using the webinar format. This has resulted in a change of the delivery of medical conferences that have come to stay not only for its advantages but also for the benefits of making use of technology available, costs, and convenience for all participants and reducing the carbon footprint and reducing the ozone layer depletion. A change of mindsets for attendees and newer ways of working for investors who relied on the older format will be the expected challenges, hopefully, overcome with the passage of time and adaptation of what is the perceived good for the global interests.

Keywords: Carbon emission, COVID, Medical conferences, Ozone layer, Virtual meetings.


Through coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), the format of medical meetings internationally has changed forever.1 From the perspective of the medical community, this has been a blessing I believe. All of us who had to travel nationally and internationally to attend conferences several times a year and realized how much of a hassle it was have now suddenly realized how wonderful it is to have the same academic feast from the comfort of our homes and in a more cost-effective and convenient format. In addition, from an environmental perspective being friends of planet earth, we have most definitely reduced carbon emissions and footprint2 and reduced depletion of the ozone layer significantly in the last year. Embracing the virtual format, we have spent far less money on conference costs as nearly all offerings have been free. We have absorbed and assimilated more information without having to contend with the cognitive side effects of jetlag and time travel as previously.3 In the short term, the hospitality and transportation sectors, the real estate space, and pharmacological industry exhibitors are suffering a loss which I am sure they, through new ways of working and creativity, can recover in due time.




As concern over COVID-19 sets in and the uncertainties of protection that vaccines will provide us, the global community must rethink large gatherings. The novel COVID-19 has reshaped the way we work; it will change conference delivery, a trillion-dollar international industry in which millions of people participate each year across all business and education sectors. Given the uncertainty of whether large in-person gatherings will be permitted, advisable, or responsible later into the summer of 2021 and beyond, these guidelines will aid many events being converted and scheduled as virtual-only meetings in the future. For the high-risk takers, there is always the hybrid format to attend in person. I am quite happy to carry on from the quiet comfort of my computer desk for the foreseeable future!


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