Background: The use of international telemedicine conferences for doctor-to-doctor education has increased following the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic to ensure health and safety. Previous studies have shown that administrative tasks are an obstacle to promoting international telemedicine conferences but have not identified the type of system needed to alleviate this burden.
Objective: The Asia-Pacific Advanced Network Medical Working Group (APAN-MWG) is an international telemedicine network that includes 1171 medical institutions and 3653 members as of July 21, 2021. The APAN-MWG has supported international telemedicine conferences since 2005 and implemented a program management system in 2014. The present study explores the conference organizers' tasks and evaluates the APAN-MWG management system through a survey of organizers.
Methods: We developed a system called med-hok for managing conference programs, international medical institutions, and their members. We investigated all event programs using the med-hok system from June 3, 2015 to July 21, 2021. The target samples included 64 conference programs in 12 series hosted by 13 program organizers. The effectiveness of the system was evaluated using a four-point Likert scale (very good, good, poor, and very poor). The User Experience Questionnaire (UEQ) was used to assess user experience.
Results: The survey response rate of the program organizers, who hosted 11 different program series in 7 Asian countries, was 92% (12/13). The administrative tasks for managing the programs were primarily handled by physicians (67%, 8/12), followed by technicians (17%, 2/12). The average program scope encompassed 7 countries, 10 institutions, and 44 members. The largest program comprised 194 members from 49 institutions in 25 countries and was managed by two physicians and one technician. Most program organizers (8/12, 67%) indicated that verifying member information was the most burdensome aspect of organizing teleconferences. Over 90% of respondents positively evaluated med-hok in the following areas: "Confirmation of institution information," "Confirmation of member information," "Confirmation of technical information," "Maintaining the latest status of the program," "Announcing and publicizing the event," and "Formatting and correcting misspellings." They rated user experience positively for all aspects (attractiveness: 1.22; practical quality: 1.42; and hedonic quality: 1.24).
Conclusions: Many tasks of organizing casual international telemedicine conferences are handled by physicians and technicians with no operating funds or staff, unlike those in large academic conferences. The proposed system was found to help program organizers manage participants and communicate information effectively. These findings suggest that international telemedicine networks should implement an administrative support system to conduct program operations efficiently.