The 2013 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) conference pulled out all the stops in using technology in a smart way to become the conference of the future. The conference was extremely high-tech and surprisingly user-friendly (from an admitted technophobe).

This year, conference attendees were given free Samsung tablets loaded with a TCT app. The goal of the device was to cut down on paper, while making attendance and organization easier for conference-goers.

While I was obviously pretty psyched to be getting a free tablet, I was sceptical that it would actually end up replacing my trusty pen & paper for the packed schedule of sessions I was expecting to attend. I figured I'd end up playing some Angry Birds on my tablet in my downtime, but didn't think I'd actually end up using it for its intended purpose.

I was so wrong!

The tablet completely enhanced my conference experience. My notes were organized, I had easy access to conference slides, and best of all, there was a chat function embedded in the app. During sessions, a moderator probed audience members with questions about the data being presented. Physicians responded in real time with their feedback and reactions offering a unique view into the real-world clinical implications of the conference lectures. Admittedly the chat sessions weren't always well attended, but I really hope this practice takes off in the future for all conferences. It was very valuable.
TCT's use of technology also made it much easier to coordinate the overwhelming number of overlapping and concurrent lectures taking place in San Francisco's massive Moscone center. I perused the agenda online without the app before I got to the conference, and could not manage to sort out a daily schedule on my own. With the app, I just favorited sessions that I was interested in, and it self-organized. The conference also gave out headsets that broadcasted real-time radiocasts of many lectures. I LOVED this, because it helped me deal with the constant nagging feeling I have during conferences of what if I picked the wrong sessio

Overall, TCT was a fantastically organized and very impressive conference. I'm looking forward to what organizers have in store for Washington DC in 2014.

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