And Now…CMEpalooza Jokes

A full blog post and thank you will be coming sometime next week, so, in lieu of anything more substantial, here are the jokes people submitted into our survey.


A pair of jumper cables walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything!”


Where do sick boats go? The dock!


CFO to CEO: “What happens if we go to the expense of training these people and they leave?” CEO’s response: “What if we don’t and they stay?”


Q: What’s brown and sticky? A: A stick!


I didn’t say they were good jokes. Anyway, if any of you participated in CMEpalooza Fall on Wednesday and didn’t complete our (very short) survey, we’d be ever so grateful if you clicked this link and did so.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Fall?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza Fall?
You watch it on the LIVE page.

Will people be able to hear me on the Hangout?
No. You are not on the Hangout. You are only watching a video feed of the Hangout. You can sing Ave Maria at the top of your lungs and no one will hear you except your neighbors (who might call the police who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza so don’t sing Ave Maria at the top of your lungs while watching CMEpalooza).

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall at the office?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall at home?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall in a conference room with 10 other people?
Please do.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall from the top of the Empire State Building while jugging flaming torches and drinking a grape slushee?
I don’t know how the wi-fi is up there, but sure.

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza?

Do I have to pre-register or register?

Do I have to take a survey afterward?
Well, you don’t have to, but it would be nice if you did. It’s only 5 questions and shouldn’t take you more than 30 seconds. If it does take you more than 30 seconds, you’re putting too much effort into it.

Do I have to watch all the sessions?
Nope. Watch what interests you.

What if I’m busy tomorrow?
All the sessions will be archived, probably by the end of the day.

What, Me Worry?

I just got back from the annual conference of the American Medical Writers Association in Memphis (still scarred by hearing the Saturday night band at BB King’s Blues Club lead with “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. And it only got worse. It was like a awful wedding. But I digress).

One of the sessions I led at the conference focused on ways that Google Hangout and Hangout On Air can be used in personal and professional circles. During the session, I “beamed in” two writers from opposite coasts to lend additional perspective to the discussion and to demonstrate to the audience how Hangouts work and what they look like.

The main takeaway of the audience? “Wow, that was easy!”

I wasn’t surprised. It’s the same reaction we got from a number of our panelists who had never participated in a Hangout before our test run. Apparently, something new and different automatically carries with it the assumption of a steep learning curve. Is that the way we all looked at cell phones the first time one was thrust in front of us? I honestly don’t remember.

A few technology providers have contacted Derek and I over the last few weeks offering their platforms in case something goes wrong with the Hangouts. I’m not here to malign or undervalue any of these providers (and watch as our thousands of viewers crash “the Google” on Wednesday after I’ve said this), but there really is very little that Derek and I are worried about on the technology front. We have both used Hangouts dozens of times for personal and professional purposes with very little problem. Sure, there are minor issues that crop up from time to time, but it’s rarely more than making sure the audio on your computer isn’t muted.

We’re now a little less than 48 hours away from the start of CMEpalooza, and we’re about as ready as we can be. Our moderators and panelists have come up with some great agendas and discussion guides to keep them on track.

We hope that what they say both surprises and engages you.

We hope that you take the opportunity to ask questions and interact with our panelists — we’ll remind you how to do this at the start of each session.

We hope that you gather your colleagues around you to watch a session or two, and then discuss what it means to your organization.

And we hope, at the end of the day, that you say, “Wow, that was easy!”

CMEpalooza Warm-Up

Just a quick post today to invite anyone/everyone to participate in our CMEpalooza Warm-Up on October 7 at 11 AM ET. It will be very informal — just Scott and I chatting about CMEpalooza via a Google Hangout. We’ll give a brief overview & demo of how things will work the day of the palooza and have a little time for Q&A with the “audience”. The Warm-Up will stream live from the LIVE page (duh) on the website, so you can watch and ask questions live or watch the archived versionlater on. I hope that some of you can join us!

Only Two Weeks Until CMEpalooza Fall? Holy Schnikes!

I woke up this morning and my first thought is now the title of this post (Blogging Rule #154: anytime one can work a Tommy Boy reference into the title of a blog post, one is required to do so). But, to be perfectly honest, everything is coming together quite nicely and we could do it today if need be (fortunately, need does not be, so we’ll stay with the planned date). There have been a few little A/V bumps during our training Hangout sessions with the panelists, but we have always been able to work out a solution and we should be good to go on the 15th.

In our final newsletter before CMEpalooza Fall (which you can read here), we cover what to expect during the program, answer a few common questions we have received over the past few months, and welcome our three newest sponsors – MedPageToday (a silver-level sponsor), along with Educational Measures and Mededicus (bronze-level sponsors). Give it a read if you haven’t had a chance to do so, yet.

One question we didn’t cover is when the archive of all the sessions will be available. In an ideal world, we will have the archive posted within 60 minutes of the session ending. That’s our ultimate goal. However, we do not live in an ideal world (as evidence, I submit to you that no one has yet merged Cool Ranch Doritos with Cheetos to create Cool Ranch Cheetos. That would only happen in an ideal world. But I digress…),  so the best I can say is that we hope to have up an archive within an hour of the session, but acknowledge that it might not happen that quickly if things get too chaotic. At most, they will be up within 24 hours, probably in a similar fashion as to how we did in March with the original CMEpalooza.

As always, feel free to contact Scott or I with any questions. Hope to see you all in two weeks!

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: