Wisconsin Department of Health Services Events - Case Study

Executive Summary

The Forging Our Commitment to Ultimate Service (FOCUS) Conference joined healthcare providers across the country with the support of Whova’s all-in-one event management platform for two days of teaching, learning, and collaborating. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Division of Quality Assurance (DQA), organized the annual conference for the multiple medical providers they oversee, including social workers, dieticians, nursing home administrators, and more. The organizers used Whova’s tools to efficiently manage speaker information and encourage audience interactions during live sessions. 

Interview with the Organizers

About the FOCUS Conference

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is a diverse state agency that oversees the health and safety of Wisconsin citizens, with over 6,100 employees. The purpose of the annual FOCUS Conference is to address healthcare-related topics and educate providers on current best practices. With Whova’s support, the organizers gathered valuable session feedback while facilitating many networking opportunities for the attendees.






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  • Collecting session feedback 

The FOCUS Conference is typically held in-person, so the organizers wanted to gather feedback about the format of the virtual live sessions and understand what, if any, changes needed to be made to improve future conferences.

  • Encouraging participation during speaker sessions

Last year, the annual conference was entirely pre-recorded because the organizers were worried about running live sessions smoothly. The organizers planned to live stream this year to promote greater engagement and wanted to provide speakers with virtual tools to connect with their audiences.

  • Managing the information of over 50 speakers

Coordinating speaker information can be challenging, especially for a virtual event. The organizers needed a way to manage speaker biographies and sessions details without emailing them back and forth constantly.

  • Making it easy for attendees to find sessions relevant to them

The conference attracts many different types of healthcare providers, from nurses to therapists, each with various topics they wanted to hear in live sessions. To save them time searching in the agenda, the organizers wanted to label sessions according to the healthcare provider it would predominantly appeal towards.

  • Networking at the virtual event

The annual conference is an important chance for healthcare providers across the country to connect and discuss best practices in their specific fields. They needed an online space to facilitate the kinds of interactions they would have at in-person events, like face-to-face meetings.


  • Gather feedback from attendees with forms for each session

Session feedback was easy to garner using Whova’s session feedback forms. The organizers applied forms to all 35 sessions to accurately capture the audience’s responses at the end of each speaker presentation. They customized the premade templates to gather data on session expectations, speaker presentation skills, and presentation topics. The organizers could easily export the answers in excel or PDF files to improve future events. If attendees forgot to fill out the forms after a session, the organizer sent in-app reminders via Whova’s announcements feature.

FOCUS Conference 2021 - Survey

The organizers easily collected feedback using Whova’s feedback forms


Feedback responses

  • Engage the audience with live Q&A 

Whova’s session Q&A feature helped speakers capture attendee interest and promote discussions in the live sessions. Attendees could post questions in the app for speakers to view and answer during the live sessions. As attendees liked their favorite questions, the most popular questions automatically moved to the top of the list, or moderators could manually move questions to a higher priority.  

FOCUS Conference 2021 - Q&A

Attendees could find all the session Q&A under the app’s Resources section

If attendees wanted to revisit a question, they could find complete lists of each Q&A session in the app’s Resources section. Under the Video Gallery tab, they could also see all recorded videos of live Q&A sessions. 

We wanted to try doing it live, and we were really happy with how it turned out! It felt a lot more engaging to do it live, compared to the recorded videos we did last year.

Julia Lehman Caldwell

Education Services Section Manager at the Department of Health Services, Division of Quality Assurance, and Organizer of FOCUS Conference.

  • Empower speakers to upload their session information

The organizers conveniently uploaded basic speaker information to Whova’s Speaker Center using pre-made Excel templates. After the information was automatically synced to the platform, they invited the speakers to upload session details and biography information via personal links. The organizers could also update speaker information when necessary and quickly send emails through the platform to all or specific speakers if they missed a document or needed to be reminded to complete their profiles. 

  • Organize sessions based on provider types

Whova’s track manager was an efficient way to organize session information for the many different types of healthcare providers at the event. The organizers tagged each session with a multicolored track in the agenda, where attendees could quickly identify sessions they were interested in and add them to their personal agendas. They categorized sessions based on topics all providers would be interested in or topics more geared towards healthcare providers in nursing homes.

FOCUS Conference 2021 - Tracks

Attendees could easily see the multicolored tracks in the agenda

  • Network through discussion topics on Whova’s Community Board 

Whova’s Community Board, an online discussion forum, was a popular networking tool used among attendees to connect and get to know each other. The virtual meet-ups helped attendees schedule times to chat over a video call, and the discussion topics encouraged attendees to participate in conversations about the healthcare industry or favorite holiday foods. The virtual Icebreakers made it easy for attendees to introduce themselves and answer personal questions about favorite travel destinations or animals. 

It seems like people really value having those tools to connect; there were many different discussions started on many different topics.

Julia Lehman Caldwell

Education Services Section Manager at the Department of Health Services, Division of Quality Assurance, and Organizer of FOCUS Conference.

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