Increasing the capability of patient organizations to run successful virtual meetings and developing a Virtual Meetings Resource Center

During this COVID-19 crisis, WECAN would like to support the cancer patient advocacy community in coping with the impacts of this pandemic on their important advocacy work. COVID-19 has resulted in cancellation of workshops, trainings, general assemblies, community advisory boards and many other critical meetings of the patient community. R&D, health policy and the imminent needs of cancer patients do not stop with the pandemic. To the contrary, right now, powerful patient advocacy, patient engagement and patient input is more important than ever. Patient organisations need to find new ways to virtually inform patients e.g. in meetings with clinicians while physical patient days cannot take place.

Many patient organisations do not feel well prepared for “going virtual” today. Advocacy work is still based on face-to-face meetings, masses of emails with numerous versions of file attachments, and noisy teleconferences are the norm. Virtual collaboration platforms for co-creation, e.g. video conferencing, virtual collaboration tools, co-editing tools for documents, virtual file spaces, e-voting for board elections, web-based project management, are not very familiar to them.

Over the past COVID-19 weeks, some community members have been working very hard on developing methodologies, technologies and practice to allow virtual trainings and meetings to be most effective. A number of WECAN organisations have already implemented virtual Community Advisory Boards and virtual General Assemblies.

By providing the WECAN Virtual Meeting Resource Center, we aim to empower the patient advocacy community through providing knowledge,  guidance and checklist for patient organizations. This repository has launched on 12 June 2020. In addition, specifically for WECAN members, we are providing some headsets and webcams, videoconference licenses and cost contribution to run virtual meetings professionally.

Aims of the project

  • Provide an online “WECAN Virtual Meeting Resource Center” on the WECAN website with hands-on guides and checklists
  • Provide training to patient advocates of all WECAN member organisations on running successful virtual meetings, workshops, general assemblies, advisory boards
  • Provide professional headsets and webcams for virtual board meetings to WECAN member organisations
  • Provide a one-year professional business webinar license for a teleconference platform, e.g. Zoom, to WECAN members

Content of the WECAN Virtual Meeting Knowledge Center

Guidance on the implementation of different types of meetings

  • Online lectures and webinars
  • Virtual collaborative work meetings
  • Virtual General Assemblies and board elections

Topic areas covered

  • Comparison of online meeting platforms (Teams, WebEx, Zoom, GotoMeeting, Skype)
  • Specific webinar/presentation-related services (recording, broadcasting, making webinars available for streaming, analytics)
  • Online collaboration and interaction tools
  • Storing meeting content in the cloud
  • Planning agendas and reasonable timing
  • Inviting participants – and setting access restrictions
  • Preparing virtual speakers and presentations
  • Managing and moderating virtual meetings


This WECAN project is developed and run by WECAN and is hosted formally by EUPATI gUG Germany.

We would like to thank the following sponsor for providing an educational grant on short notice to make this happen during the COVID-19 crisis:


For further information please contact WECAN and the project team Jan Geissler ([email protected]), Hamda Munawar ([email protected]) and Julia Tolley ([email protected]).