CMEpalooza Spring Agenda: Voting Results (Duck!)

Another election fraught with suspense is complete. And unlike some of our democracy’s more recent transitions that were accompanied by a consensus of love and unity, this one is unfortunately likely to be fraught with hand-wringing and controversy. That’s just what happens when you have so many worthy ideas that get left behind.

This is the first year where we’re releasing the full voting results from our Spring process. Because there were no names attached to any of the proposals (and some — including the overall laggard — came directly from Derek or I), we’re hoping that no one’s personal feelings are hurt and that our overall audience can see just how close some of these votes were.

When our Polling Stations locked their doors last Friday night, 222 ballots had been cast, far exceeding Derek’s prediction of “2” and even slightly bettering my more rosy expectation of “200.”

Thanks to everyone who took advantage of the CMEpalooza democracy to chime in.

We understand that your favorite candidates likely didn’t all win, and we sympathize with you. Our interns have been instructed to stay as late as they need to tonight and every other night this month taking calls from angry voters. We promise that your concerns will be heard.

With that, here are the results (winning sessions are in BOLD):

OUTCOMES
Incorporating Cost-Effective Creativity Into Outcomes Design – 24.9%
What is Data Visualization, and How Can I Apply It to CME Activities? – 40.7%
Project Outcomes – 34.4%

EDUCATIONAL DESIGN
An External Perspective on Educational Design in Adult Learning – 14.0%
Does Innovation in Educational Design Truly Make a Difference – 39.5%
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Learning Preferences of Healthcare Professionals – 46.5%

CASE-BASED APPROACHES
Celebrating Our Mistakes: A Retrospective Analysis of “What Went Wrong” – 42.1%
Taking an Innovation Risk – 34.2%
Everyone’s Favorite Character: The Disgruntled Faculty Member – 23.8%

COMMERCIAL SUPPORT
Eliminate the BS in Outcomes Reports and Get to the Point – 23.2%
The Complaint Desk – 35%
Two Scoops of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Please – 41.9%

ACCREDITATION
Achieving Accreditation with Commendation: It May be Easier Than You Think – 29.2%
Is That Compliant? Celebrating Fact from Fiction in Accredited CME – 49.7%
CME/CNE/CPE/CPD: Is There Really a Difference – 21.0%

CME POTPOURRI
Networking with the Best of Them: How to Make Friends and Influence People – 41.5%
A Primer for the Independent Medical Education Industry – 21.7%
The Million Person CME March – 36.7%

So now what? Derek and I will be retiring to our CMEpalooza South headquarters in the newly-refurbished Del Boca Vista luxury condominium complex and inviting potential moderators to meet with us and convince that they are responsible enough to take on the necessary duties. We expect the recruitment process to take only a few days, at which time we’ll be able to release the official times and faculty lists for each session.

In the meantime, we’ll wait for another Saturday Night Live parody of our crew. I have to admit that Bette Midler does a great Derek.

CMEpalooza Spring Poll Closes Today

Our crack interns have been busy running various scenarios this week as the votes for our CMEpalooza Spring have come pouring in.

Click here for the CMEpalooza Spring ballot

“What if we have a 3-way tie in the Outcomes category?”

“Should we be worried about that strange block of votes that apparently came in from ‘somewhere in Asia’ last night around 2 a.m.?”

“Who is going to pay the tab for the next case of Red Bull?”

You know, important stuff.

The drama and mystery ends today, when the polls for CMEpalooza Spring close at 5 p.m. ET. If you have already voted, thank you. If you haven’t, please do. We’ll announce the winning sessions early next week and start lining up moderators and panelists shortly thereafter.

Wish us luck.

Click here for the CMEpalooza Spring ballot

The Early Returns Are In

On Wednesday morning, our crack team of interns finished their work on the ballot for CMEpalooza Spring and we pushed it out to the CME world for their input. Frankly, Derek and I never quite know what sort of uptake we’re going to get with these sorts of things – as the pessimist, Derek typically moans and groans about how “we’ll be lucky to get 5 people” while I offer what I feel is a more realistic view of “perhaps 300.”

Not surprisingly, the final numbers often fall somewhere in between our glass all empty/glass all full prognostications.

You can imagine our giddiness when the numbers began quickly adding up – 50 voters in the first 2 hours, 100 by the end of the first day, 135 by the end of day 2. We’re now up to 137 138 139 voters (I told you these things change fast!), with a week still left for the laggards to chime on in. Polls close next Friday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. ET.

While our staff can see the polling numbers add up in real time (thank you Mr. Google), we prefer to keep the results close to the vest so as not to discourage any last-minute voters from chiming in. That said, here is a broad snapshot of what we’re seeing:

Truth: No single session in any category is garnering more than 50% of the vote.

Conclusion: With the help of some of our friends in the CME community, we came up with lots of potentially attractive ideas. And every single vote counts and all.

Truth: Only 1 session is garnering less than 20% of the vote (admission: it’s one of my ideas).

Conclusion: I’m not as smart or creative as Derek thinks I am.

Truth: The one session I thought would be a clear winner in the voting is, uh, not winning.

Conclusion: Maybe not such a great idea to follow my lead in laying down $1,000 on the Phillies to win the 2017 World Series (but it’s 150-1 odds people!)

Truth: Session descriptions that rank less difficult on the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease scale are doing better than those that rank more difficult

Conclusion: Fake truth. I totally made that up. But I’ll have our interns run an analysis just in case I am right.

Not Fake News: Vote for the CMEpalooza Spring Agenda NOW!

The title says it all, so let’s get right to it.

Click here to vote for the CMEpalooza Spring agenda!

The process is pretty simple (Should you trust the process? Yes. Yes, you should.) You will see six different categories in the survey: Outcomes, Educational Design, Case-Based Approaches, Commercial Support, Accreditation, and CME Potpourri (a deceivingly hard word to spell correctly.)

Under each category are three possible sessions (thank you to our colleagues who helped develop some of these ideas). Pick your favorite session, and only that one session, for each category. Click the SUBMIT button. That’s it.

Click here to vote for the CMEpalooza Spring agenda!

Voting will stay open until Friday, February 17 and…wait a minute. Is next Tuesday Valentine’s Day?? Uh oh. How the h-…sorry, sorry…got distracted…

Voting will stay open until Friday, February 17, and we will close it up at the end of the day. Then we will tally up the votes and the session from each category with the highest total will go on the Spring agenda. At that point, Scott and I will begin the faculty selection process.

Is that a quick turnaround to find faculty for CMEpalooza Spring? Yes, it is.

Am I a little nervous about that? I might be.

Do I blame Scott because it was his idea? Definitely.

Are we up to the task? Of course!

Now go vote (remember to hit SUBMIT)!

Click here to vote for the CMEpalooza Spring agenda!

More Details on the CMEpalooza Spring Agenda Selection Process

And we’re back from the annual Alliance meeting, where the majority of private conversations dealt with the recently-leaked love letter that Derek wrote to Family Ties co-star Tina Yothers when he turned 14. If you haven’t already read it, I warn you that it’s quite spicy. Something about how “I love you more than the ColecoVision I got for Christmas last year, more than Joanie loves Chachi, more than my dad loves butter pecan ice cream.” Hand it to the man – he knows how to woo the ladies.

Anyway, after folks got through besmirching Derek’s character (what’s left of it), they turned to the next hot CMEpalooza-related topic: “How do I submit an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring?”

While I went over this a few weeks ago when we first made our splashy announcements about this year’s Paloozas, I understand that some of you may either have forgotten or missed it. So here is the information once again:

For this spring, we have come up with 6 session categories — Accreditation, Industry, Off-the-Wall/Potpourri, Outcomes, Educational Design, and Case-Based Formats — and are in the process of working with some of our most loyal fans to come up with ideas for sessions in each of those categories.

Our hope is that on Monday, February 6, we’ll be able to present to you, our “adoring” public, a slate of options to vote on in each category. These will only be titles and descriptions of the focus of the sessions themselves – there will be no pre-determined faculty, so no one will waste time recruiting folks for sessions that may hit the scrap heap.

The voting process will work in a similar fashion to previous years, except that you will only be able to vote for 1 session in each category. The winning session in each category gets added to the agenda, and the process of recruiting faculty then begins (our interns will be busy).

This approach, we hope, will give us a more balanced agenda with a greater variety of topics. While there is nothing necessarily wrong about having, say, 4 sessions focused on Outcomes, we are going to be moving away from that possibility. We understand if you will shed some tears, but we promise that, in the end, we’ll have a better, brighter program for everyone.

Now let’s say you have been sitting on an idea for a CMEpalooza session for months, just waiting for your chance to unleash it on the world. Never fear — we won’t let your idea go to waste! Simply come up with a title and a brief yet pithy description of your proposed session, fire off an email with all that information to either myself or Derek, and we’ll include your idea in the voting process. We’ll even present it anonymously in case you are embarrassed of public ridicule.

Here is an example of what a session title and description can look like (this would be appropriate for the Outcomes category, which is sort of obvious):

Incorporating Cost-Effective Creativity into Outcomes Design
Sometimes, it may seem like designing innovative approaches to outcomes measurement is like squeezing an orange. You squeeze and squeeze and squeeze until you figure out how to extract every last piece of “juice” from your data. But what if all you need is a new juicer from that late-night infomercial instead of that team of expensive experts in juice (or data) extraction? This session will look at less expensive yet effective ways to approach outcomes measurement for your educational initiatives.

Nothing too fancy or elaborate – just an idea with some fundamental details.

The deadline for sending something to us is Friday, February 3, which is, uh, pretty soon. Rest assured that if your submission somehow loops in Tina Yothers, it will get a prime location on our ballot.

Good News for the Left Behind

BREAKING NEWS! The Alliance 2017 Annual Meeting is coming up in a few days! (Yes, I’m mocking CNN who uses the “Breaking News” chyron like it’s a name badge.) I imagine a good amount of you reading this are planning to head out to San Fran for the conference, but a fair amount of you will be staying at home (yeesh, what a great observation by me. “Some of you are going and some of you aren’t.” Brilliant. This is the type of insightful analysis the CMEpalooza blog has become famous for. I should have made Scott write this post. I need more coffee.)

Hey, I get it. We can’t all go the conference every year, and it’s expensive to send an entire staff. I didn’t go last year. Here’s a picture of me thinking about all my friends at the conference while I stayed home:

giphy-14

But I come with good news! Oh yes, it’s very exciting times here at CMEpalooza HQ. So exciting that Scott jumped up and danced a little jig (it was…not great.) That’s right, folks — the CMEpalooza archive has been updated! Woooooo!!!

[crickets]

Fine. It might not be that exciting, but it is a nice resource. I added all the sessions from CMEpalooza Fall 2016 to the archive and we now have over 60 sessions in 11 different categories for your viewing pleasure (side note: they are free). So, while your boss is away at the Alliance conference during your free time, pop on over to the archive and check out some of the sessions you may have missed. Interested in learning more about evaluation and outcomes? We have 18 sessions in our Outcomes section. If you watch them all, we’ll give you our special Master of Outcomes sash, which you will be required to wear around the office and everyone has to refer to you as “The Outcomes Master.”

“Hey, do you have any suggestions for improving our evaluation response rates?”

“Beats me. Let’s ask The Outcomes Master.”

“You mean Larry?”

“That’s his old name.”

And there’s lots of other topics to browse through. Check it out!

The Community of CME

grandpaI’ve had to stop and restart this post a bunch of times already because it keeps devolving into a long-winded political rant that makes me sound like an old-man-yells-at-cloud blowhard and no one wants to read political rants from old-man-yells-at-cloud blowhards [insert joke about Scott here]. So, let me try this one more time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately and what it means to be part of a community. Inspired by recent events, I’ve been working my way through Congressman John Lewis’s graphic novel series March, which, if you haven’t read it already, you definitely should. As a key figure in the civil rights movement, Lewis is inspirational in his commitment to his cause despite facing overwhelming racism and adversity. He excels as a community organizer and shows how amazing things can be accomplished when a group of people are willing to work together towards a common goal.

Now, I know what you all are thinking right now. “Oh no! Derek is not going to try to compare his work with CMEpalooza to John Lewis and the civil rights movement, is he??” Rest assured, I am not. As my dad likes to say — I may be dumb, but I ain’t stupid. No, mostly it just made me think about (cue the sappy orchestral number) what a unique and supportive community we have in the CME/CE world. It’s relatively small, we all go to the same conferences, work with the same people, apply for the same grants, have similar problems, have similar work-related experiences, yet we are all working towards a similar goal: improving patient care.

If you work in this industry for a few years, you get to know people pretty well without even really trying. And lets face it, our jobs are sort of…odd. I think we have all had the same experience of trying to explain our job to someone who has innocently asked, “What do you do?” Maybe it’s just my poor ability to explain, but more than once I’ve had a questioner respond, “You have a weird job.” True. So, we all sit around in the hotel lobby bar at the Alliance conference and bond over the shared oddity of our jobs. It’s what we do, and it’s part of what makes us a community. And while many of us are technically competitors in this community, it’s important to keep in mind that we are all on the same side. We can continue to make strides in improving patient care on our own, but we can do even more if we are willing to work together. Keep that in mind during your discussions and interactions next week.

Scott and I will both be at the Alliance conference, and we’re both pretty approachable guys, though Scott likes to tell bad jokes and I talk about the Sixers too much. If any of you have any questions about CMEpalooza — be it technical questions, or questions about sponsorship possibilities, or questions about our development process for the Spring agenda — or even if you just want to chat, please feel free to grab either one of us. Personally, I’m interested in finding a wider range of faculty for CMEpalooza, so if you have any interest in speaking, let me know. And if you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on Joel Embiid’s breakout rookie season, you can let me know that, too…

The Only Reason You Need to Sponsor CMEpalooza

This is always one of the most challenging blog posts of the year to write. Neither Derek nor I are natural salesmen (especially Derek – his daughter pleaded with him last spring to ask his co-workers to each buy a single box of Thin Mints to support her girl scout troop. She was grounded indefinitely due to “the audacity to make such a preposterous request” [dw note: FAKE NEWS! My daughter has never been part of the girl scouts. The statement about my salesmanship, however, is wholly accurate. Carry on…]).

Meeting folks use all sorts of fancy tricks and numbers to substantiate why sponsors (or more commonly, exhibitors) should spend money to have a presence at their events. Typically, this surrounds attracting attention and potential clients to their organizations, and there is certainly nothing remarkably misleading about this tactic. Hey, we do it too.

So yes, you can look near the end of our Sponsor prospectus to get a sense of the CMEpalooza audience and our annual reach (spoiler alert: it’s a lot of people).

But at its core, the value of CMEpalooza sponsorship is the opportunity to be a part of something that is both valuable to the CME community and, well, fun. Let’s face it – we don’t exactly color within the lines when it comes to some of our promotional efforts. I’m particularly proud of my A Few Good Men parody from 2015 and my mea culpa last fall regarding old leaked audio of a conversation Derek and I had years ago. Derek gets giddy writing his bizarre awesome [dw note: fixed your typo] CMEpalooza haikus.

Last year, we extended some of the fun to sponsor “events” such as #CMEpalooza Challenge and CMEpalooza Bingo!! I have no idea what we’ll have in store as a spring promotional event, but I promise that there will be something and that it will be focused on bringing attention to the good and unique work all of our sponsors do.

Now a few truths:

We can’t promise that if you sponsor CMEpalooza, your business will grow by a guaranteed 20% this year.

We can’t promise that if you sponsor CMEpalooza, you will suddenly be flooded with phone calls saying, “Hey, I read about you guys on the CMEpalooza website and I’m really interested in learning more about your organization.”

We can’t promise that if you sponsor CMEpalooza, you will win Powerball this year.

What we can promise is that you will find your CMEpalooza sponsorship to have some value and that you will be proud to be associated with us. If your business does grow by 20% this year and if you do get that deluge of phone calls and if you do win Powerball, we’ll of course happily take all of the credit (and 20% of your winnings).

All we ask if that you are scratching your head and thinking, “Hmm, maybe…” that you take a gander at our Sponsorship Prospectus. We offer a bunch of different potential goodies – the higher your level of financial support, the more goodie-ness you get (please won’t someone save CMEpalooza Company Spotlight?)

Derek even promises to throw in a free box of Thin Mints for all of this Spring’s sponsors. Once his daughter is allowed out of her room.

The First Curveball of the Year

Technically, pitchers and catchers won’t report for nearly 2 months (it’s a baseball thing in case you are scratching your head and muttering, “Let me guess, another random sports reference? Don’t these guys watch Gilmore Girls?”). And while the first mitts won’t emerge from hibernation until the calendar trickles a little more quickly toward spring, it’s not too soon at CMEpalooza headquarters for us to throw out our first curveball of the year.

Now in truth, Derek and I saw no need to do anything differently with CMEpalooza Spring – I mean, why mess with a good thing? – but our crack team of interns begged and pleaded with us for many months to try something new. If the two of us have learned nothing after a combined 29 years of marriage, it’s how to put the seat down how to listen. So we caved.

Here is how we used to devise our spring agenda:

About this time of year, we would open up a call for abstracts on our website. People would spend many hours talking to colleagues to come up with something that would be eye-catching and worthy of a CMEpalooza session. We’d then open up the abstracts to peer voting, which would put about 7 or 8 sessions on the agenda.

Unfortunately, simply due to the numbers game, there were far more winners than losers, which we know is discouraging and leads people to think they’ve wasted their time coming up with an idea and coaxing their colleagues to join them on the prospective session. We saw interest in coming up with unique ideas for sessions dwindling, which isn’t a good thing. We loved the peer voting process and were determined to find a way to keep it, but we decided to tinker with the submission process.

So here is our new and improved approach in devising our spring agenda:

We have come up with 6 session categories — Accreditation, Industry, Off-the-Wall/Potpourri, Outcomes, Educational Design, and Case-Based Formats — and are in the process of working with some of our most loyal fans to come up with ideas for sessions in each of those categories.

Our hope is that by early February we’ll be able to present to you a slate of options to vote on in each category. These will only be titles and descriptions of the focus of the sessions themselves – there will be no pre-determined faculty, so no one will waste time recruiting folks for sessions that may hit the scrap heap.

The voting process will work in a similar fashion to previous years, except that you will only be able to vote for 1 session in each category. The winning session in each category gets added to the agenda, and the process of recruiting faculty then begins (our interns will be busy).

This approach, we hope, has the added bonus of giving us a more balanced agenda with a greater variety of topics. While there is nothing necessarily wrong about having, say, four sessions focused on Outcomes, we are going to be moving away from that possibility. We understand if you will shed some tears, but we promise that, in the end, we’ll have a better, brighter program for everyone.

Now let’s say you have been sitting on an idea for a CMEpalooza session for months, just waiting for your chance to unleash it on the world. There is a part of us that would be worried for your sanity – I mean, come on, we know our limits here — but another part is thinking, “Great! We won’t let your idea go to waste!” Simply come up with a title and a brief yet pithy description of your proposed session, fire off an email with all that information to either myself or Derek, and we’ll include your idea in the voting process. We’ll even present it anonymously in case you are embarrassed of public ridicule.

The deadline for sending something to us is Friday, February 3. Don’t worry – we’ll send some reminders out.