Introducing the MedPageToday Text Line

Several weeks ago I participated in a panel session on the topic of Breaking the Mold–Forward Thinking Teaching Models and Technology Advances at the CBI Independent Medical Education and Grants Breakthrough Summit. In preparation for that session, I conducted a poll on my The CME Guy Facebook page, asking individuals to share their preferred means of rapid, one-on-one communication. I got approximately 30 responses — and some folks went into extensive detail, even though it was supposed to be a simple multiple-choice selection — but it was quite clear that texting was far and away the most commonly preferred option (you can read the responses here).

As I read through all the responses, the gears in my brain shook off all the rust that had started to gather and slowly began to creak into action. They turned…and turned…and turned…and turned…and turned…and then...light bulb!: We should figure out a way for participants to text in questions to CMEpalooza!

The biggest issue I had with the first iteration of CMEpalooza was the lack of interaction between participants and faculty. There were a few questions sent in via the Google+ Q&A app and the #CMEpalooza Twitter hashtag, but some sessions had no questions and I had generally hoped for more. I knew going in to it that getting questions might be a struggle; the Q&A app requires users to have a Google+ account and Twitter usage in the CME community is not exactly robust.

That is why I am thrilled to announce the newly established MedPageToday Text Line. All participants of CMEpalooza Fall are encouraged to text any questions they have to 267-666-0CME (0263) and we will relay the questions to the panelists (standard texting rates apply, blah, blah, blah). Participants can still send in questions via the Q&A app or Twitter if they prefer, but I’m hopeful that the availability of a text line will give even more participants a level of comfort to send in their questions. Many thanks to MedPageToday for their sponsorship of CMEpalooza Fall and making this possible.

So remember: 267-666-0CME. 267-666-0CME. 267-666-0CME. Can someone make this into a catchy jingle for us?

5 Questions with… John Ruggiero

Today, we catch up with John Ruggiero, PhD, CCMEP, Senior Medical Education Manager in the Independent Medical Education Department at Genentech. John will be chairing our 1 p.m. session entitled, “What Do Supporters Do With Outcomes Data?” This session is sponsored by Imedex.

A few of John’s insights:

Why are you optimistic about the future of CME?

I am really encouraged that so many people within our industry are starting to talk about engagement with learning. Especially with issues such as healthcare reform, we need to start focusing on what it takes to be implementation science managers or start talking the language of implementation science so that we can start addressing tactics or activities that are related to engagement and learning.

So, (it’s a question of) what kinds of CME programs can be done? What kinds of patient education pieces can be done? What kind of peer-to-peer interactions can we all be part of?

What scares you about the future of CME?

We have an industry of professionals who are greatly skilled on continuing education who are sometimes overly focused on some of the issues that we should leave to other experts. For example, I hear a lot about Sunshine Act and how Sunshine Act is going to impact our industry. Obviously, it’s a relevant concern, but these are issues that I think we can get past. We need to focus on more relevant issues like quality improvement and clinical integration and things along the lines of engagement of learning.

What do you feel has been most important change to CME in last 5 years?

I’m really encouraged to see that outcomes plans have been enhanced. I’m happy to see that people aren’t just using Moore’s 7 levels of outcomes, but are using that and moving forward with things to add to those metrics. Looking at national quality service pillars and expectations that are mandated by the federal government. Seeing how the national quality health strategies can be incorporated into medical education programs or engagement in learning tactics.

Check out John’s full interview below:

CMEpalooza Fall: Spend the Day With Us

We are now officially less than one month away from CMEpalooza Fall – woohoo! In honor of the occasion, I made a little one minute tribute entitled, “Spend the Day With CMEpalooza” (side note: you don’t technically have to spend the whole day with us since each session will be archived and you can come back and watch them whenever you want – but let’s not get caught up in the details, OK? OK.)

I’m pretty sure this is the only CME-related video you will watch today set to Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day”, but I suppose I could be wrong. Remember to mark your calendars for October 15 and plan to spend at least part of your day with CMEpalooza Fall!


5 Questions with… Lawrence Sherman

We’re back today with the fourth of our CMEpalooza Fall moderator interviews. This one is with Lawrence Sherman, Senior Vice President of Educational Strategy at Prova Education. Lawrence will be kicking off CMEpalooza Fall at our 9 a.m. session — The Future of CME: What Will CME/CPD Look Like in 5-10 Years?

A few of his more salient insights:

On the things that scare him about the future of CME:

The first thing is that it seems to me that there is no shortage of CME in areas where funding is available and educational needs exist, but there may be a shortage of CME in areas that are not as sexy and not as fundable. I am concerned that that imbalance may lead to bigger gaps in education and bigger challenges in improving patient care.

The second thing that worries me is that we get lost in the definition of what CME is. It’s not just, “Can we measure to level 5 outcomes in this?” but, “Did we find what the needs were, and did we meet those needs?”

On the most important change to CME in the last 5 years:

People are always down on the ACCME. I’m not. When they changed and updated their criteria two times ago, they helped to ensure that accredited providers are really educators. It may be difficult at times to do the paperwork, but it’s because we have to document that what we are doing is truly educational. That helped those folks who were out there doing a little education and a little other stuff to decide ‘What is it that we want to do?’ And if they chose education, they had to be committed to be educators.

On his best personal learning experience in the last year?

My best learning experience has been to continue to incorporate new ideas, technologies, and approaches into what we do. Sometimes in our industry, it seems like Groundhog Day. “I’ll just repurpose something,” or “That approach will work again,” or, “We’ll just renew that.” The reality is that everything is new, everything is unique, and everything is different.

You can watch the full interview below:

Matching Content to Format

I signed up for my first MOOC this week. While I wasn’t terribly interested in the overall topic – sadly, registration for ‘The Life and Times of Porfi Altamirano’ isn’t currently being offered– I was curious about the way the instructor used various free online tools to structure the class.

(Quick aside for the 99.99% scratching your head and asking, “Who the heck is Porfi Altimarano?” Derek asked me to include a reference to an obscure baseball player in this week’s post. You can Wikipedia Porfi if you want to, but he was only really notable for his unique name)

For those of you who are not familiar with a MOOC, the acronym stands for “Massive Open Online Course.” A number of leading universities have developed these free, online courses. Companies like Khan Academy, edX, and Coursera are among the more notable providers of MOOCs. According to the initial email from my class’ professor, more than 12,000 individuals signed up for her class. Only 7-9% of enrollees typically complete a MOOC, but that is still 1,000 learners for this particular class, assuming previous study demographics hold true. Not bad.

I doubt I will be one of the 1,000, although I worked my way through a few pieces of the first week’s videos (basically, a bunch of 5-10 minute YouTube clips cut up and posted individually) and some of the homework quizzes just to see how it all worked. It was OK — not awful, not great, but OK. I find that I have a hard time sitting through a 10-minute YouTube video of someone talking to me, with or without slides. It’s just not engaging and I quickly lose focus. Kind of the same way I do in a conference room when there is a single speaker who doesn’t interact with his audience. Teach to me, not at me.

The point (and yes, there is one) is that there are some wonderful new educational tools and platforms at our disposal in the educational community, but it requires matching the right type of content to the right platform. I have been in far too many planning sessions where someone got really jazzed about some new learning platform or method, but couldn’t get past the concept that they shouldn’t simply squeeze a Powerpoint presentation into that platform.

Using new learning technologies requires creative ways of thinking about content creation and development. It can’t simply be a matter of selecting something from column A (the type of content) and something else from column B (the delivery platform) and shoehorning them together. They have to match together seamlessly so that the end user – in our case, learners – gets something out of the experience. Trying something new just to try something new is a waste of time (and often money). There have been too many times I have attended an educational session that promised an innovative educational platform, but left frustrated with how poorly they utilized the tools at their disposal.

One of the many things that has me excited about CMEpalooza Fall is that I think we are taking advantage of the Google Hangout On Air (GHOA) platform to bring everyone the right kind of education for our format. GHOA is a great platform for conversations, both among faculty and between faculty and learners. We’re giving anyone who views a session live a number of different ways to ask questions – through the GHOA plug in, through Twitter (#cmepalooza), and even through this website. While viewers of the recorded sessions on YouTube obviously won’t have this same opportunity, our hope is that quality of conversation will be enough to keep folks engaged no matter when they tune in.

Fortunately, we haven’t had to sell any of our panelists on the educational approach for CMEpalooza Fall. They seem to trust that Derek and I know what are doing (suckers). It’s not always easy or comfortable being thrown into new technology, and while the panel-based format of CMEpalooza Fall should be familiar to most of our faculty, we’re taking away PowerPoint crutches and relying on their collective brilliance to carry the day. As Derek has frequently noted in various social media forums, though, we have a great group of panelists on board and seven unique topics to chew over. We hope everyone will find something that resonates.

5 Questions With… Karen Roy

Today’s interview is with CMEpalooza Fall moderator Karen Roy, Principal of Ardgillan Group LLC. Karen has worked on both the supporter and provider side of CME, so she’ll bring an interesting perspective along with her Irish brogue to Publishing Outcomes Data: Tips and Tricks. This session is being supported by Genentech.

A few of the tastier snippets from her interview:

On what scares her about the future of CME:

Overall, I’m scared that we’ll get in a couple of different ways. The ongoing dialogue in the media and the press defending industry funding around CME is very tiresome. We obviously haven’t done enough to demonstrate the independence around CME that is supported by industry. We need to move the conversation from one around bias and independence to one showing impact and relevance.

On what she feels has been the most important change to CME in the last 5 years:

The emergence of new technology and innovation in educational design. What I have been pleased to see is that the things that we are working are not innovation for novelty’s sake, but are really based on adult learning principles and the ability to collect data.

On her vision for her CMEpalooza Fall session:

The dialogue around publications is really going to focus more on the how. I don’t know if we’re going to spend time on the why… There is a different skill set involved in writing publications for medical literature and manuscript publication than there is for (developing) slide decks or putting educational content together. That’s an important thing to explore.

You can watch the full interview below:

5 Questions With…Allison Gardner

Next up in our series of (short) interviews with each of the CMEpalooza Fall moderators is Allison Gardner, Vice President of Educational Strategy and Content at Med-IQ and moderator of the Have We Forgotten About the Content in Continuing Medical Education? session. Here are a few snippets from the interview:

On the future of CME:

I’m optimistic about the future of CME because there have been a lot of changes in healthcare and it’s a very dynamic landscape and I think that forces us out of our comfort zone to come up with really interesting platforms for our education.

On what she believes to be an important change in CME over the past 5 years:

I think there is a growing focus on putting the patient and patient perspective into education and making sure we’re including them in the fold of the team that’s making clinical decisions.

On why people should tune in to the Have We Forgotten About the Content in Continuing Medical Education? session:

What I hope will happen in this session is that we’ll get a great conversation going about how all the different panelists – in their different roles developing CME – how they tell a story, how they can make information interesting, and how they help make it stick.

You can watch the full interview below.

Lunch/Snack/Breakfast With CMEpalooza

I was going to title this post Lunch With CMEpalooza but realized that that was showing a total east coast bias and considering this session is being sponsored by our Genentech colleagues on the west coast who would probably be having breakfast during this session, that seemed awfully inconsiderate. So in an effort to remain time zone neutral, I went with Lunch/Snack/Breakfast With CMEpalooza, which is pretty much a terrible title destined not to make anyone happy. Well done, Derek. Well done.

Anyhoo, there is a point to all this and that is to say that we have finalized the moderator and panel for our newly added Incorporating Learning Systems and Quality Improvement Into Continuing Medical Education session, scheduled for noon ET. Here are the details:

Lunchtime Panel Sponsored by Genentech
Incorporating Learning Systems and Quality Improvement Into Continuing Medical Education
This session will focus on ways in which quality improvement (QI) can be partnered with learning systems for the development of individual educational initiatives. Panelists will examine the drivers behind the increasing prominence of QI in CME and discuss the value it contributes to continuing professional development today and in the future.

Scott Weber, Co-CEO, Med-IQ

Alex Djuricich, MD, Associate Dean for CME, Indiana University
Catharine Smith, Vice President, Quality, Education and Meetings, Society of Hospital Medicine
Kathleen Moreo, RN-BC, CEO, PRIME Education

(Just between you and me…I’m sort of amazed at the people we are getting to speak on these panels. I’m not bragging about it, but…well, OK, I am a little, but it’s just because I’m really excited about the wide range of people who will be talking. Folks have been very generous with the donation of their time and Scott and I are both extremely grateful to everyone participating. But, I digress…)

Be sure to check out the full CMEpalooza Fall agenda and, as always, a big thank you to our sponsors for helping to make this all possible.

Exhibit (Hall) A

Keep your head up and your eyes forward. Look straight ahead. Keep an even stride. Don’t pause, even for a second.

You hear those voices — “Hi! Let’s talk for a second!” “I have something I want to show you!”?

Ignore them! IGNORE THEM!

If you tilt your head or show interest for even a split second, she’ll know you are interested in her. Don’t show weakness. Focus on your goal. 

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Don’t wave hello! Did you just make eye contact? Great, now you have been sucked into her vortex, and she knows you like her. Fine, go talk to her. Why don’t you just give up loser? WASTE OF MY TIME!

OK, maybe I’m channeling the voices inside my head during my daily walk to English class in 7th grade as I carefully averted my eyes from my secret crush, but I’m actually going for something a little more relevant here as well.

Meet “Exhibit Hall Scott.”

I mean, I get it. Businesses that sell a service need to market themselves somehow, and one way to get in front of potential clients is to purchase booth space at a conference. Nonetheless, I always cringe when I have to make the walk down aisle after aisle while trying to find the bar, er, coffee table to get me through the day. It just feels, I dunno, icky.

(Shameless CMEpalooza Fall plug coming in 5…4…3).

On the flip side, there is nothing icky about the sponsors who have committed to be a part of CMEpalooza Fall. You can either visit them on the Sponsor tab or not (but of course you should). You can either click on their links to find out more about them or not (but of course you should). I mean, no pressure or anything (it’s not like Google is tracking every click of your mouse or anything).

Seriously, though, we’re thrilled that our initial wave of sponsors have recognized the value of CMEpalooza Fall as a non-icky alternative to the exhibit booth at live meetings.

So thank you to our Bronze Sponsors — CMEology, HighMarksCE, Impact Education, LLC, RedMedEd, and Vivacity Consulting, LLC. A big hug to our Silver Sponsor, Imedex. And a wet, sloppy kiss to our Gold Sponsor, Genentech.

Of course, we’re still happy to bring new sponsors into the fold, so for anyone interested in what we think about the value of a sponsorship, well sure, we have that too.

Now to hunt through Facebook for that girl who stopped me on my walk down the hallway. Surely she remembers me, right? Right?