. A New Breed of High-Tech Venues Enhances Medical Meetings | Northstar Meetings Group

A New Breed of High-Tech Venues Enhances Medical Meetings

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Traditional convention centers will always remain on medical meeting planners' radar. However, a new category of venues that are an especially good fit for medical and bioscience conferences, congresses and training events has emerged.

Some of these venues are particularly suited to medical and bioscience meetings because they are purpose-built, with features that support interactive educational programming. Others fall under this umbrella based on the fact that they share space or maintain partnerships with program-enhancing resources such as hospitals and research entities. Some also incorporate technology that enables the sharing of programming beyond their walls.

The Carter Center
in Atlanta, which works in partnership with Emory University, is a good fit for medical and bioscience meetings because of its mission to improve health, as well as to resolve conflicts and enhance freedom and democracy. The Center’s health programs are devoted to fighting six preventable diseases — Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma, schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis, and malaria in Hispaniola — through health education and simple, low-cost methods. Groups using the facility have access to a collective 21,744 square feet of meeting and event space, including the 5,498-square-foot Cecil B. Day Chapel and the 3,372-square-foot Cypress Room. All meeting and event space features free Wi-Fi, and the use of audiovisual equipment is included in the rental fee.

In Phoenix, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus (PBC) is a 30-acre medical and bioscience campus with more than a dozen research facilities and more than 6 million square feet of classroom and clinical space. The PBC serves as home to the University of Arizona Center for Simulation and Innovation, which offers an operating room, briefing rooms and a control room, as well as the Arizona Telemedicine Center, whose features include an amphitheater and high-definition videoconferencing capabilities that permit program content to be disseminated beyond the facility. Another component of the PBC, the $31 million Arizona Biomedical Collaborative, is the product of a partnership between Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.

Similarly, in Las Vegas, Internet connectivity and broadcast capabilities featured at the Oquendo Center allow live viewing of instructional sessions and related programming by conference attendees gathered in nearby hotel ballrooms or the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Oquendo Center is outfitted with hands-on training labs for continuing education and research; facilities encompass a 12-station surgery prep room, a radiology suite, a 190-seat auditorium and a variety of multipurpose rooms. Appropriate for medical and veterinary groups alike, the center also features equipment such as an electrosurgical generator, a C-arm, an endoscopy tower, a portable suction and ventilators. The rental price includes the use of all audiovisual equipment and services.

carter center 1
The Carter Center

Meanwhile, the Global Center for Health Innovation at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland accommodates medical and bioscience meetings in 40,000 square feet of rentable meeting and event space. High-tech accoutrements range from videoconferencing capabilities to built-in outlets and complimentary WiFi.

Informally known as the Medical Mart, the center is promoted as a "platform where global health-care leaders — industry, health systems, investors and innovators — convene and collaborate to develop solutions to solve high-priority health-care issues." The medical and bioscience "connection" is provided by a long list of partner organizations that participate in the "platform," among them (but not limited to) Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic, DHG Healthcare, the MetroHealth System, Philips Medical, Siemens and the University Hospitals System.

Also in the Midwest, in Rosemont, Ill., the OLC Education and Conference Center houses a bio-skills lab with more than 14,000 square feet of flexible space for hands-on and hands-off training. Customizable features include 28 fully equipped workstations (divisible into two labs of 12 and 16 workstations), a large-format high-definition display with 80-inch LED displays and 30-foot-wide screens, a staging/clean room for instrumentation and equipment, and a decontamination room. A separate demonstration area has three high-definition broadcast cameras, one of which is mounted on an overhead crane to facilitate overhead shots.

A fully wired bio-skills demonstration station and broadcast video studio allows presentations to be recorded or livestreamed anywhere within the facility or worldwide. Three large and two smaller meeting rooms are available.

Yet another possibility in the Midwest is the $119 million Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center, a simulation facility slated to open in September 2019 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Spanning 192,000 square feet of space, the center will comprise five levels, with each level dedicated to a different discipline. Surgical and interventional skills, inter-professional simulation and visualization/virtual reality will be the focus on the first, second and third levels, respectively. The ground floor will be dedicated to the National Center for Health Security and Biopreparedness, while the lowest level will be devoted to simulated community care.

Augmented-reality technology to be spotlighted on level one will include a 130-seat holographic theater with a 280-degree curved screen for showing 2-D and 3-D images, as well as a 3-D laser-immersive environment intended to assist clinicians and researchers in developing new treatment modalities. A simulated operating room, nursing station, labor-and-delivery room and pediatric-care unit will occupy level two; 20 operating rooms and a command center for recording and broadcasting sessions locally, nationally and globally will fill level three.

Simulation Centers Offer Training Options

Elsewhere in the U.S., Florida has become home to several purpose-built facilities — some of which also have simulation centers — that appear to be equally well-suited for meetings and events targeted toward medical and bioscience groups. The $38 million, 90,000-square-foot Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in Tampa was designed to function as a training ground where surgeons in all specialties can learn about new techniques and surgical equipment in a hospital-like setting. Located within steps of the Tampa Convention Center, the facility has patient-exam rooms, 39 surgical-skills stations for hands-on education, a virtual operating room with a system that simulates sounds heard on a hospital battlefield, a 3-D printer that can create customized knee implants, and an infant-sized mannequin on which life-saving skills may be practiced. Attendees can interact and discuss what they have learned in more than 25,000 square feet of conference space.

AdventHealth operates two Nicholson Center facilities in Florida. Its 54,000-square-foot facility in Celebration offers a 500-seat medical conference center, an operating room for team training, an advanced robotics and laparoscopic simulation lab, and a lab with 50 training stations for surgery and clinical skills. An on-site digital-services team assists with all technology needs.

The Oquendo Center
The Oquendo Center, in Las Vegas, is outfitted with hands-on training labs for continuing education and research

The second Nicholson Center, occupying 3,000 square feet in downtown Orlando, offers live surgical broadcasts, videoconferences, tele-monitoring and web-based education. Here, groups will find 12 training stations for surgery and clinical skills, a team-training operating room, a 164-seat auditorium, advanced media services (production, capture and broadcast) and exhibit/breakout space.

In St. Petersburg, the $95 million Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital Research and Education Building spans 225,000 square feet that includes 40,000 square feet of laboratory space, a 250-seat auditorium and flexible areas designed for team-based learning. Fifteen patient rooms are fitted with infant and child mannequins. The facility also features an operating room, an intensive care unit, a real ambulance and an outpatient bedroom designed for interactive training on home health care. Additionally, the building boasts an expansive research center divided into five separate "institutes" focused on heart disease, cancer and blood disorders, neonatal medicine, the neurosciences and fundamental biomedical research. 


The Booming Health IT & Bioscience Industry of Atlanta

The home of the largest combined convention, sports and entertainment campus in North America is also the birthplace of the largest Health IT conference in the country—the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society — and boasts the reputation as the nation’s epicenter of Health IT.

At the forefront of consumer digital health, Atlanta ranks third in research facility space among all US bioscience clusters and is the No. 5 North American metro area for competitiveness in the life sciences industry.

With a network of senior healthcare leaders and executives, entrepreneurs, developers and engineers, the city has an abundance of talent and event speakers. Many leading national and global health organizations are Atlanta-headquartered, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation, The Carter Center, the Task Force for Global Health and more.

Contact Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau for more information or start your RFP today.