BACKGROUND: In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic led to the annual meeting of the German Society for Rheumatology (DGRh) being conducted as the virtual German Rheumatology Congress .
AIM: How is the virtual German Rheumatology Congress accepted and what are the possibilities of optimization for the future? MATERIAL AND
METHOD: The registered participants were asked to take part in an online congress evaluation .
RESULTS: Of 2566 congress attendees , 721 participated in the evaluation . The majority (80.2 %) were (very) satisfied with the event overall . Compared to the traditional format collegial exchange was perceived as worse using the virtual approach . The technology platform was predominantly described as easy to use and easily accessible . The selected topics of the congress met the expectations of 89% of the participants . The presented contents were estimated to be relevant for their professional activities by 85.2% of the participants . The majority of participants (85.3 %) would welcome the congress contents to be permanently available on demand .
DISCUSSION: Overall, the participants appreciated the virtual format of the German Rheumatology Congress . Optimization aspects could be shown and these could be considered in the implementation of further (digital) congresses . The results of this work provide suggestions for improvement on how the DGRh can meet and exceed the needs of participants in organizing a virtual or hybrid conference in the future.