Meet Congress Bookers at IBTM World 2016

ibtm-world-2016Between November 29th and December 1st, Barcelona is home to one of the leading exhibitions for the meetings industry, IBTM World (formerly known as EIBTM). The event dates back to 1988 and it started out in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2000, EIBTM was acquired by Reed Travel Exhibitions and in 2004 it moved to Barcelona. It soon turned into one of the biggest and most relevant exhibitions for the global meetings, incentives, conferences and events industry.

The three day event offers innovative education sessions, as well as a wide range of networking opportunities that trigger future business growth.

Event Attendees

Around 15,500 international industry professionals from over 150 countries and 3,000 brands showcasing their products and services.

Hosted Buyers

IBTM World pays for the flights and accommodation of selected senior decision makers with top level purchasing responsibility that qualify to benefit from the VIP package. In order to qualify for the latter, they must meet very strict criteria such as annual budget, number of annual events, purchasing power, etc.

A buyer driven matching system enables the Hosted Buyers to schedule appointments with selected exhibitors in advance.


These are the suppliers to the meetings and incentives industry. They come from various sectors including: Airlines & Cruiselines, Attractions, Conference & Meeting Venues, Convention Bureaux, Destination Management Services, Hotels, Incentive Destinations, Travel Management Companies, etc.

Trade Visitors

They are decision makers who organise meetings, conferences, events, as well as business travel programs and include Agencies, Associations, Corporations, Professional Conference Organisers.

Event Programme

There will be plenty of things to see and do during the three day event. For a more detailed view, you can access the event’s agenda here.

We will also be there to showcase our booking offers for pharma and medical congresses in 2017

Best price, best rooms, best location for medical congresses worldwide!

In the world of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events), Congress Bookers provides a whole range of services needed to organize a group for a medical congress. On our website, you will find a full list of hotel allotments for the most important medical congresses in 2017, regardless of their location. We operate internationally!

And many more!


Let’s meet at IBTM World 2016 and work on the best offer for your accommodation needs!

Could Chatbots Be the Future of Healthcare?

Over the past few years we’ve seen more and more companies invest in mHealth sensors and applications in an attempt to boost medication adherence, enable self-reporting of symptoms and telemedicine consults, etc. While some studies show that there is promise in mHealth apps, others don’t see them as a disruptor for the healthcare industry, which would make the scalability of such technologies very slow.

Smart phones and medical icons

So what’s the underlying cause for the low to mediocre performance of mHealth apps?

Most probably, the answer lies in the lack of a truly engaging user experience. Imagine using an app for health purposes: you first need to install it, then remember to open it daily, fact that will definitely not be entertaining but rather sad given that it will remind you of your illness.

Since nowadays nearly everyone uses mobile messaging apps to communicate with friends and family, it’s becoming obvious that interacting with users directly inside of those messaging apps is much more effective as opposed to asking them to use standalone apps.

This is where chatbots enter the healthcare scene.


From Plain Robots to Doctors in Your Pocket

The doctor-patient relationship is more or less the same as it was 2000 years ago. The technology is much more advances but the process is the same. Patients feel sick, go to the hospital, explain how they’re feeling or where it hurts. Doctors check vitals, ask several questions, offer a diagnosis, and write a prescription.

The nasty part is when doctors are extremely busy and patients become impatient. They search on the internet, read forums, diagnose themselves and oftentimes end up taking the wrong medications. Of course, not all symptoms require an immediate visit to the doctor but it would be good to know when they do and when they don’t.

Using robots to diagnose patients is not as new an idea as you may think. ELIZA, was the world’s first chatbot and it was created 50 years ago with the purpose of being a Rogerian psychotherapist who can chat with patients by reflecting on what they said.

More recently, ProjectRED developed a robotic nurse called Louise, who can talk to patients to go over their medications and home care items when they get discharged from the hospital.

However, if it weren’t for the recent advances in AI, these chatbots would feel more like robots and would face the fate that standalone mHealth apps have had to face.

With artificial intelligence, almost unbelievable scenarios become possible. Imagine your smartphone rings and it’s a chatbot asking you if you still have that soar throat from yesterday and if you’d like to book a doctor’s appointment for the coming day.

Healthcare may see the greatest transformation of all the fields that artificial intelligence will disrupt in the coming years. Its influence on the industry will be broad and deep. Thanks to advanced image-recognition algorithms, diseases can be detected at an incredible speed and accuracy.


Chatbots that Have Already Prompted Big Healthcare Changes

Several companies have already begun using chatbots to redefine the role of the doctor and reposition the patient in relation to his/ her own health.

London-based digital health startups Your.MD and Babylon Health are fixing healthcare systems by cutting down on unnecessary doctor visits. Your.MD’s AI-powered chatbot engages patients just like a physician. The chatbot (your personal health assistant) uses machine-learning algorithms and natural-language processing to understand and engage its users.

MedWhat is another AI-powered medical assistant that can answer questions, such as drug side effects, in a chat format.

Chinese search engine Baidu launched “Melody”, a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence with the aim of helping patients determine whether or not they should see a doctor in person.

Melody integrates with the Baidu Doctor app, it asks the patient preliminary questions and pulls data from digitized textbooks, research papers, online forums and other healthcare sources.

With HealthTap’s bot, users can type a question into Facebook Messenger and receive replies from doctors. Users are also able to see responses from doctors to questions that are similar to their own.

Since we’re pretty sure that this is only the beginning, we expect to see a lot more activity from companies in the healthcare space and not only in the following months. Chatbots won’t replace doctors but they can improve the system, boost medication adherence and contribute to a better health.

Interested in finding out more about pharma, healthcare and tech? Book your accommodation in time for the following events in 2017:

How Pharma Companies Could Use Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is considered to be one of the hottest trends and innovations in the pharma landscape. Given that AI can be used to analyse and process large amounts of data, it is highly employed in research areas. AI can churn through huge amounts of data and find valuable information, something that can’t be done with conventional computers. Since the vastest part of pharma is related to research, AI couldn’t have been overlooked. Actually, although it holds many promises for the future, AI is already being used by big pharma companies. Its potential lies in several areas. Some of them are mentioned and tackled in this article.


Enhanced Drug Discovery

AI’s ability to analyse and process vast amounts of scientific data ranging from medical journals to patient records, biological samples and even blood tests is probably the most useful application of artificial intelligence in pharma. AI can guide pharma companies’ drug development endeavours by gathering and using patterns in the data to make scientific hypotheses, something that wouldn’t be possible with an ordinary computer.

With the help of artificial intelligence, the pharma sector can replace the tedious approach of chemical screening with AI-researched and highly accurate biological markers, therefore improving the drug to the highest extent possible, focusing on particular indications that it will treat.

Interrogative Biology is the platform of Boston-based biopharma BERG and it can look at 14 trillion data points in a single tissue sample. The company’s CEO Niven R. Narain believes that AI will cut the amount of time and the costs of bringing its lead molecule BPM 31510 to market in half. Using this approach, BERG’s team discovered the key role mitochondria had in allowing cancer cells to flourish in pancreatic cancer. BERG’s drug BPM 31510 helps the mitochondria function and turns the cancer cells back into normal cells.

On a different front, there is IBM’s Watson supercomputer that, as part of different trials, could scan mutation data from the tumours of 20 brain cancer patients. Something that would probably take humans months to analyse is only taking a few minutes with Watson’s help.

Eve, the University of Manchester’s AI platform, can screen more than 10,000 compounds in a day. Through machine learning and hypothesis testing, Eve improves her screening process based on the “learnings” from previous attempts.

Insilico Medicine is a bioinformatics company that uses AI to identify geroprotectors predicted to support human longevity. Its AI system can predict the therapeutic use of new drugs before they enter the testing process by processing vast amounts of data from experiments on human cells using known drugs.


Simplified Business Processes

AI can help pharma companies way beyond the drug discovery process, into the trial process and even up to business restructuring. In what concerns clinical trials, artificial intelligence could help enhance their effectiveness by quickly analysing the data which would have taken months for human scientists to fathom.

Artificial intelligence could also prove to be an asset when it comes to mergers and acquisitions in the pharma landscape. These happen a lot nowadays and it’s getting more and more challenging to find out and decide which combination is worthwhile. After a merger takes place, integrating R&D departments (which involve astounding amounts of information and research) can also be facilitated through the use of AI.


Streamlined ROI and Reduced Prices

Dr Andree Bates, President of Eularis, a pharmaceutical Artificial Intelligence analytics platform, said: “Think of how long it took from the beginning to launch Herceptin – the research prior to clinical trials was 10 years, followed by another 8 years for clinical trials. What AI can do is potentially reduce that process down to weeks.”

Cheaper drug development should lead to lower prices. Since drug pricing spikes are usually justified by huge R&D costs, lowering the latter should lead to a fall in drug prices and a clean reputation for pharma companies that have to deal with a lot of pressure when it comes to the matter of costs.

The great part about AI is not only that it becomes better with every attempt or use but that

even its “wrong” answers prove helpful by pointing at secondary uses for drugs that researchers hadn’t thought of.

Although we’re barely at the beginning of the application of AI in pharma, the promise exists and is set to change the ways in which drugs are made and brought to market. Whether it’s used for analysing data or in order to make a better business decision, artificial intelligence will enable big changes for pharma companies and patients alike.


If you’re passionate about artificial intelligence and innovations in pharma and healthcare, these congresses should be on your list in 2017:

3 Tech Trends that Will Shape the Pharma Industry

There are many things happening in the pharma and healthcare industry. As we’ve discussed in a previous article, chatbots, mHealth sensor, 3D printing and artificial intelligence are impacting every sector of our lives and every industry, pharma making no exception to the rule.

So what is the next gamechanger for the pharmaceutical industry in terms of technology or better yet, what are the technologies that are set to change the industry and shake its core?


Big Data

Big data gives pharma and healthcare organizations the opportunity to use advanced analytics to create patient centricity in their operations and deliver measurable improvements in outcomes. Nowadays, electronic medical record (EMR) data is combined with genomic and genetic data, as well as with financial data and patient-reported data to ensure that the best therapies are delivered to patients.

Apart from healthcare organizations, pharma companies could also leverage Big data to improve areas related to drug development through the provision of compelling evidence of a drug’s benefits.

Big data and the analytics that go with it have the power to revolutionize pharmaceutical R&D, as McKinsey&Company explain in one of their articles. With Big data, the following could be possible (some of them even are!): patients could enroll in clinical trials based on their online activity and not only on their visits to the doctor, trials are monitored in real time, data flows seamlessly between discovery and clinical development, to external partners (physicians and contract research organizations), etc.

Although there are still many challenges ahead in what concerns the use of Big data by pharma companies (organizational silos is only one of them), the benefits are real, especially in the area of R&D.


Cloud Computing

Pharma companies are in the process of changing their business models and leveraging new technologies to cope with demand but also to differentiate themselves. In this context,

many are turning to cloud technology. The latter not only gives them on-demand scalability but also enhanced agility so that they can meet the market demands in a timely manner.

When it comes to R&D, the process is a lengthy one: only about 1 in every 5,000 drugs ever reaches the market and it often takes at least 10 years to develop it. As you can imagine, the costs are tremendous! Given this, cloud technology helps pharma companies process huge amounts of data they deal with as a part of R&D, and replace the information silos that have been formed as a result of legacy infrastructure.

In terms of scalability, given that SaaS computing enables companies to use the services they need regardless of location or device, teams can quickly be scaled up or down depending on the project/ research.

According to a forecast by MarketsandMarkets, the clinical trial market is expected to grow at a CAPGR of 11.5% from 2016 to 2021. Thanks to cloud-based infrastructure, data, including lab, imagery and statistical analysis data, can be delivered quickly and efficiently.


Tech giants have set their eyes on pharma

Apple, Google and IBM have become major players in the healthcare game by closing deals with biopharma companies over the past years.

In August 2015, Google announced a restructure into a holding company dubbed Alphabet that hosts several separate firms, including Google Ventures, Google X and Calico. All three of them are focusing on drug development. Calico tackles aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and Google Ventures increased its funding of healthcare-related ventures. Not to be left out is Google’s partnership with Novartis to develop “smart contacts” for age-related degeneration in eyesight.

Meanwhile, IBM and Apple have teamed up with Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson to carefully leverage clinical trial data to create better targeted therapies for patients, while ensuring the latter’s compliance with their drugs. Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit technologies are complementing such partnerships, as is IBM’s supercomputer Watson.

These are only 3 of the technologies that promise to shape the pharma industry in the upcoming years. Of course, as technology advances, so do security breaches. Therefore, while investing in doing more with the right technology, pharma companies should keep in mind to also make processes safer from a security standpoint so that neither them nor patients face any risks.

Interested in finding out more about pharma and tech? Book your accommodation in time for the following BIG events  in 2017:

  1. EASL 2017 Amsterdam, 19.- 23. April, 2017 ->
  2. EULAR 2017 Madrid, 14.- 17. June, 2017 ->
  3. EHA 2017 Madrid, 22.- 25. June, 2017 ->