Proceedings IV ICEHTMC 2021- J Global Clinical Engineering, Special Issue 4, 2021
E3: COVID & Health Technologies
Information Battle Against Covid19: Public Engagement through Biomedical Technology Webinars By Aris Dermitzakis, Panagiotis D. Bamidis, Alkinoos Athanasiou, Vasiliki Zilidoy, Nicolas PallikarakisMedical Technology Management Unit, Institute of Biomedical Technology (INBIT), Greece
Description: Disinformation regarding the Covid19 pandemic can magnify serious public health issues, put pressure on health systems and undermine efforts to effectively control the pandemic. Biomedical technology products are at the frontline of efforts to contain the spread (masks) or wipe out the disease (vaccines). Meanwhile the healthcare crisis has affected public and private sector operations and equipment critical to the management of the pandemic has been put at risk.
Goals: We aimed to engage biomedical and healthcare technology stakeholders and practitioners in Greece through a series of webinars and measure their response. Procurement experts, policy designers, healthcare workers (doctors, nursing staff ), biomedical technology departments staff, clinical and biomedical engineers are among key target audience. Members of the wider health industry as well as the general public can also benefit from such webinar programs.
Results: Five webinars were announced and organized during May-Dec 2020 themed: ’Clinical eEngineering & Medical Technology in the COVID19 era’, ‘Healthcare Providers & Public Procurement’, ‘Management of Critical Equipment’, ‘Medical Mask Technology’, ‘Vaccine Technology’. Participants increased from 100 and 140 during the first three webinars to 275 during the masks-related and over 800 during the vaccine-related, denoting their comparative interest and wider audience reach.
Participants were asked to answer at relevant poll questions before and after each webinar while Q&A heavily leaned towards specific use-cases in all webinars. Mean trust towards the new vaccines for Covid19 increased from 3.1/5 to 3.8/5, while trust towards vaccines in general was higher (4.6/5) both before and after the webinar. Willingness to receive a vaccine increased from 42.94% to 63.44% and negativity towards receiving a vaccine decreased from 12.94% to 3.08%. Proper mask and protective gear use increased from 54.26% to 63.89%, while makeshift protective gear solutions were discouraged.
Conclusions: Biomedical technology webinar events can improve target audiences’ level of information regarding key healthcare issues raised by the Covid19 pandemic. Such events increase audiences awareness, acceptance to the rapidly changing healthcare practices and needs, while at the same time deliver in-depth knowledge on managerial and technological issues.
HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data
Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT gmail.com