Success Story: Executing a Successful Hybrid Certification Training Amid a Pandemic and a Protest

The Event

A biopharmaceutical company with an urgent study timeline sponsored a series of three complex trainings for an important study trial. The studies were to take place in Lagos, Nigeria; Cairo, Egypt; and Accra, Ghana.

The first meeting in the series was a hands-on training in Lagos, Nigeria. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nigeria, was completely closed to non-Nigerian citizens. The majority of the sponsor’s attendees and all the uniquely qualified trainers had to join the meeting virtually. 

Concurrently, the entire contract research organization’s (CRO) attendees, one sponsor attendee, the trial’s healthcare professionals (HCPs) and the patients, attended the meeting in person or LIVE. Miller Tanner Associates (MTA) mobilized to create a dynamic hybrid event with two audiences to create one experience.  


The Challenges

Training Complexity

This client had a complex study training agenda, a 4-week timeline, and a hybrid audience located in three different countries on multiple time zones; the sponsor was located in the United States, the CRO plus trainees/participants were located in Nigeria, and the trainers were located in the United Kingdom. 

This hands-on certification training required use of technology and devices which enabled live interactive video to support the on-site training requirements with the remote trainers.

Pandemic Safety Considerations

Additionally, there were specific requirements to accommodate the Covid-19 pandemic safety guidelines including cleaning protocol, hotel space for adequate social distancing, and PPE.

Pediatric Attendees

Due to the nature of the study, the patients involved were pediatric attendees ages 2 to 14-years-old. Specific furniture and equipment were required for this on-site training to accommodate for the needs of the patients.

Multiple Time Zones

The in-person training needed to align with the virtual agenda while also considering the multiple time zones of Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Local Political Unrest in Host City

Adding to the complexity of this training, there was also political unrest in the area which required the meeting to be cancelled the day before it was scheduled to start and re-scheduled a month later. Additional safety and security protocols were implemented for the safety of both the on-site trainees and the patients who were traveling with their caregivers from the local hospital.

The Solution

socially distance hybrid event
Meeting room designed to safely accommodate all attendees.
(Pictured: Part of study series – visual of investigator meeting set up in Cairo, Egypt )

Miller Tanner Associates tackled the many challenges, foreseen and unexpected, to provide a successful hybrid event solution for our client.

We implemented an extensive, customized safety and security plan for this event to ensure the safety of the attendees.  Our planning team worked closely with our Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) and Chief Experience Officer (CXO) to develop a thorough on-site, pre-, and post-meeting protocol to implement comprehensive Covid-19 cleaning and safety guidelines; client coaching and consulting; security procedures to address civil unrest; and measures to meet risk assessment criteria.

Technology Solutions for Remote Training

Remote trainers instructed and observed sonographer trainees in real-time using technology glasses to transmit video images. Image: Zeriscope.com

Our on-site production team produced a seamless hybrid experience by virtually connecting remote sponsor and trainers on screen with the in-person attendees. Using the specialized video set up, the remote trainers were able to instruct and observe the sonographer trainees in real-time using technology glasses to transmit video images, as well as a separate system that transmitted sonography images. 

Proactive Approach to Risk Management

One day prior to meeting, protests erupted in Nigeria, forcing MTA to counsel our client on possible event options. With the aid of our Chief Compliance Officer (COO) MTA discussed the risk factors and strongly urged our client to cancel the hybrid event and reschedule for a month later. This proved to be a wise decision as the next day the government of Lagos, Nigeria established a curfew which would have meant the on-site attendees would have been in lockdown.

With less than 18 hours to pivot, MTA moved quickly to cancel before any site attendees arrived.  Within 72 hours of cancelling, MTA had plans in place for a reschedule meeting 30 days later which MTA was already beginning to operate without any hotel cancellation fees incurred.

The two-day rescheduled hybrid event consisted of 18 remote attendees as well as 40 pediatric patients with their caregivers.

The Results

  • MTA successfully pivoted the Lagos, Nigeria hybrid event in less than 18 hours to ensure the safety of the attendees during the city’s protests. 
  • The meeting was quickly rescheduled within 30 days of the original date.
  • MTA produced a successful investigator meeting as a hybrid event with two audiences that shared one experience.
  • A comprehensive safety and security plan to address Covid-19 and local civil unrest was created and executed successfully.
  • An extensive, customized training plan was developed and executed.
  • 9 sites completed training on sonographer equipment virtually with a strong use of technology and production knowledge.  
  • 20 pediatric patients received exceptional care.
  • The clinical trial progressed to the next stage.
  • No one became ill with Covid-19 from attending this hybrid event.
  • No one was harmed during the civil unrest.
  • MTA applied the successes from the Lagos, Nigeria training to the training program series in Cairo, Egypt and Accra, Ghana. These certification trainings followed the same protocol and similar hybrid format as in Nigeria to accommodate both in-person and virtual attendees. The study training in Ghana consisted of 10 site participants in-person and 15 site attendees virtually. The study training in Cairo, consisted of 8 in-person site participants and 12 virtual participants.

“What a huge success! Thank you to the entire MTA team for all of the hard work that went into this training meeting. This meeting really pushed the limits of thinking outside of the box and meeting planning, and you guys were amazing every step of the way! Please forward this message on to the local teams as well.  Big round of applause for everyone.”

Hybrid Event Client

To learn more about hybrid events, visit our website here.