Intended for healthcare professionals

Head To Head

Are international medical conferences an outdated luxury the planet can’t afford? Yes

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 26 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1466

The wider benefits of a green outlook

The issue of carbon dioxide is important but only one of the arguments in favor of less travel and more on line conferences.

Having attended a few large conferences I am often bewildered by the choice and restricted by the time table. There are often two lectures relevent to practice at the same time, only one of which I can attend.

With recorded on line video being something that most eleven year olds now do routinely, if these lectures were stored on line I could see both without having to leave the comforts of Southend on Sea.

Not only that but colleagues anywhere, even in Basildon, would be able to hear the wisdom from our accademic leaders almost directly.

I have been asked to give feedback on conferences. It is dissapointing how little can be recalled after a short interval. Colleagues would also be able to attend on line rather than having to rely on the inadequate recollections of the individual that attended. It may also go some way to solving the problem of getting a cardiology opinion during cardiology conference week!

On line lectures could be a reservoir of knowlege which whould not be depleted no matter how many chose to look.

It would take leadership from accademics to get their lectures on line and available. I suspect there would be considerable resistance from those who travel and lecture regularly. The long sited ones would recognise that should they get on line their audience would vote with there mice. Hits and downloads could mean prizes ( such as a trip to a conference)

Patrick Harnett

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 July 2008
Patrick Harnett
Consultant Renal Physician
Southend Hospital