NASS and AAOS are slowly dying.  

The big conferences are experiencing a gradual decline in several key aspects. This trend can be attributed to a series of changes and adaptations within the industry, particularly in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Observations:

  1. Decrease in Surgeon Participation: There is a noticeable reduction in the number of surgeons actively participating in these conferences.
  2. Shift to Smaller Booths: Major industry players are increasingly opting for smaller booth spaces at these events.
  3. Emergence of Open Floor Space: Open floor spaces have made an appearance for the first time in the history of these conferences.
  4. Reduced Sales Activities: There has been a decline in sales activities taking place at these conferences.
  5. Diminished Company-Surgeon Relationships: Companies and surgeons are spending less time fostering relationships within the conference booths.
  6. Surgeon Information Channels: Surgeons are seeking product information through alternative means, moving away from traditional conference-based information sharing. Younger surgeons are leaning into digital med-tech commercialization.
  7. Surgeons cannot commit: But the main reason why the big meetings are diminishing is time out of the practice. Aside from the hospital employed surgeon, the large group partner has a financial nut to hit every period , with lower reimbursements and ever rising overhead costs it’s not a wonder why AAOS and NASS attendance is down.AAOS has changed to a Monday through Friday event, not a great schedule for busy physicians.

As we move forward, it’s possible that these large conferences may return to their initial core objectives, focusing on surgeon education, facilitating alumni gatherings, and fostering surgeon-to-surgeon relationships. These fundamental functions could regain prominence as the industry adapts to new dynamics and priorities.

Agree or disagree ?

Perspective from a small ortho CEO.

Tiger, AAOS has turned into a waste of time and money for a small company like ours. When we first went there we would get 20-30 good leads. The last time we had a booth at AAOS we got almost none. The doc foot traffic was pitiful. The ones that did come by were hospital employees don’t have purchasing authority. The docs at the busy surgery centers who can buy stuff don’t come to the meeting. AOSSM in DC was a waste of time and money from those who I heard from that went there. The lecture hall was across the street from the exhibits and the booth traffic was non-existent. Meetings like OSET and Shoulder 360 have taken over. Both don’t have docs distracted by association and society meetings and housekeeping, and they are not so bound up by anti-commercial association rules. AAOS is a good business development meeting where you can make a lot of industry contacts in one place. But for selling its not a great investment. The meeting organizers are not doing much to address this that I can see.