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Lessons learnt transitioning to a digital conference during the COVID-19 pandemic
  1. Adam Lawton1,
  2. Katharine Harman2,
  3. Atul Gupta2,3
  1. 1 Paediatrics, Royal London Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2 Respiratory Paediatrics, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  3. 3 Department of Women and Children's Health, School of Life Course Sciences, Kings College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Atul Gupta, Respiratory Pediatrics, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London SE5 9RS, UK; atul.gupta{at}

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The King’s John Price Paediatric Respiratory Conference1 is one of the largest annual gatherings of paediatric respiratory professionals in Europe, attracting over 550 participants. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the conference to transition to a digital model at short notice. We believe that the lessons learnt from this experience have wide relevance for the future of medical education.

Advancing medical knowledge is a global endeavour, and collaboration between clinicians and scientists in different countries is increasingly common. Paediatric centres are often smaller than their adult equivalents, necessitating cooperation for development of consensus statements, and to achieve significant patient numbers in research trials. International conferences remain a vital space for sharing and appraisal of new research, especially at a subspeciality level. Attending these conferences can be prohibitively expensive, disproportionately affecting early career researchers, allied health professionals and junior doctors as well as delegates from low-income and middle-income countries who may also be hindered by visa requirements. Digital conferences solve these problems by delivering cost-effective and highly customisable learning experiences. Here, we explore the steps taken to convert an international paediatric respiratory conference to a digital format.

The planning for the 2020 conference was nearly complete when COVID-19 entered public awareness in the …

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  • Contributors AG conceived of the project. AL wrote the first draft. KH, AG and AL were equally responsible for suggesting changes to the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AG is an Unpaid Director/Chair of the non-profit organisation 'King’s John Price Paediatric Respiratory Conference' and 'Paediatric Respiratory Academy CIC'.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.