2020 Beijing Virtual Annual Meeting – Key Learnings


From Poster to Panel, An Abstracts Tale

The Annual Meeting hosts a variety of sessions, allowing access to information in many ways. Posters are a popular submission type and a refreshment/lunch break spent wandering around the poster display is often reported as a highlight of attending the Annual Meeting.

In 2019, we scheduled a series of presentation times on the agenda where our delegates could meet the presenters and accompany their poster with a brief verbal overview.

At that meeting, Omid Saadatfard and colleagues from the Norwegian Centre for E-health Research shared their poster ‘Do Positivist Assumptions Hold True In Complex Interventions?’. They followed up at our 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting with a  panel session on the same subject. We recently caught up with Omid who shared some thoughts about their journey from a 2019 poster to a 2020 panel.

Preparing the poster for AM2019

The idea of the poster came from the intent to move the conversation around RCTs and complex systems further. We drew inspiration from Trisha Greenhalgh’s series of articles on using complexity science in health services research and decided to focus on the underlying epistemological issues that arise when we use an experimental design in complex systems.

The feedback that prompted a panel abstract for AM2020

We were very apprehensive before presenting the poster, as we thought it is too abstract and despite our wish to move the conversation forward, it will not succeed as the audience will not be interested in this level of abstraction. However, after the presentation, Catherine Meads from the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care approached us and offered that if we write a commentary based on our poster, the journal will publish that. The attempt to write the commentary resulted in the idea to evolve into the presentation at the panel discussion at HTAi 2020.

Plans for future participation in the HTAi Annual Meeting

We would like to take this initiative further and conduct the literature review and ideally present the results next year at HTAi 2021 but have to consider resources and ongoing projects at NSE at the moment to see if this is a feasible goal. The conversation has already started here at NSE and hopefully, we can fit this new project in our plans for next year.

Your perception of the benefits in presenting at an Annual Meeting.

We think the most important benefit is to maintain a dialogue with a wider community that shares similar interests in order to get constant feedback on directions. These are complex topics and continuously monitoring and adjusting your goals is a key success factor in moving the yardstick in our field of research further.


You can still access the posters from our 2020 Annual Meeting on our digital platform. Sign in here and visit the resource gallery