how ASHT surpassed expectations providing unique, high-value content in new ways
When the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) Annual Meeting went virtual in 2020, ASHT’s program planning committee wanted to meet, if not exceed, the highest standards of quality content that past in-person ASHT meetings had established. One much-anticipated session would need some additional planning, though: the cadaver lab. The session previously featured a live dissection of a human upper extremity and was of great value to ASHT Annual Meeting attendees. Tackling this session virtually would be a unique challenge.
Considering a Virtual Audience
The first consideration for ASHT was how to present the cadaver lab to a virtual audience. The in-person session was heavily visual, with an in-depth exploration of the anatomy of the upper extremity.
“We had to determine the best way to translate that learning experience to a virtual platform,” said Gene Terry, CAE, IOM, ASHT Executive Director. “It's one thing to invite speakers to record themselves via Zoom with PowerPoint presentations. But for the cadaver lab, how do we provide the detailed anatomical view for our attendees?” Presenting the dissection would require more sophisticated production.
ASHT explored all avenues and found a solution was already in-hand: ASHT’s virtual meeting producer, Falcon Events, also provided audio visual services and offered their production crew to film the cadaver lab.
Next, ASHT needed to find a facility where the dissection and filming could take place. The association leveraged its relationship with The Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore, Maryland and, after meeting with the facility directors, was able to conduct the virtual cadaver lab at that facility.
Power of Preparation
With so many moving parts, a vital component of the session was ensuring that the surgeons conducting the dissection, the hand therapists, and the production crew were on the same page.
“In order for the session to be valuable to attendees, we needed to make sure that the surgeons understood the therapist’s learning objective,” Terry said. “In addition, we needed to make sure that the camera crew knew what to film so we had the ideal material for the session.”
In preparation, an ASHT program planning committee member drafted a detailed 10-page shot list with images of the anatomy to help guide the dissection. This list ensured that the surgeon and hand therapist addressed all areas of interest to attendees and that the production crew knew what to capture. The detail helped the film crew understand the shots they needed and when to get close-up views of the dissection
With a concrete plan in place, the Falcon Events production crew traveled to Baltimore for a weekend and filmed more than four hours of footage for two different sessions: one on the anatomy of the forearm, wrist, and hand and another on the shoulder and elbow.
In an effort to make the sessions as educational as possible, a surgeon and hand therapist were present for the sessions—the surgeon conducted and narrated the dissection while the hand therapist asked questions that viewers might ask.
A Successful Session
The reception to the cadaver lab was phenomenal! Attendees’ positive reviews highlighted the high-quality production and thought put into the recorded sessions. Terry credits the vendor for bringing a professional level of production quality to the session.
“Falcon Events applied a production value to it; there were camera movements to keep it visually dynamic, the lighting was great, the audio was superior, there were scenes where they zoomed in and out,” Terry said. Those professional components helped ASHT deliver the high-quality session they intended.
The cadaver lab was the most-viewed session from ASHT’s virtual event with over 4,600 views. Particularly of note was how many attendees viewed the cadaver lab multiple times, reinforcing the value of and interest in the session, whether in person or virtual. Ultimately, ASHT was pleased to be able to successfully offer such vital content despite a year of disruption.
“Understanding the anatomy really is central to the foundation of what hand therapists do,” Terry said. "Any condition that a patient presents with in clinic, hand therapists always want to go back to the anatomy to serve as a guide for how they should be treating a patient, and ASHT was able to deliver on that need with the cadaver lab in a new way.”