Your (Ha Ha) #CMEstory

A few years ago, I tried to talk a few colleagues of mine into presenting a session at a live conference entitled something like “Humor in Medical Writing.” They laughed me off. (Insert rimshot).

“What exactly is funny about medical writing?” they asked. “Wouldn’t this session last like, I dunno, 20 seconds or so?”

Instead of grumbling and arguing, I let those crumbums burst my bubble and shelved the idea. Temporarily.

But dammit, there have been too many funny things happening to me lately professionally to simply let it go forever. And so today, we step aside from our usual veiled promotion for CMEpalooza Spring (it’s coming up in about a month for those of you who care, on Wednesday, April 17) so that we can all share a recent (ha ha) #CMEstory.

There were about 3 or 4 I had to choose from, but this is the one I settled on:

A few months ago, I flew down to Florida to oversee the filming of a series of enduring activities. For one of the broadcasts, our faculty – a pair of rheumatology nurse practitioners – were discussing a case involving a new patient that had recently come to one of their practices. Let’s listen in.

“Today’s case involves a 15-year-old male who presented with joint pain of approximately 1 year’s duration that has recently worsened. He is in good general health overall and had no unusual childhood illnesses to speak of.

During our initial exam, the patient noted about an hour of daily morning stiffness in the fingers, elbows, toes, knees, and back. He specifically emphasized decreasing strength and flexibility in his right wrist that prevented him from enjoying certain activities.”

The case went on for another 10 minutes or so as the faculty discussed the possible diagnosis, how they would approach treatment, and so on. When the discussion ended, I went up to them with just one general comment.

Me: “So you do realize which sorts of ‘certain activities’ this patient was talking about having trouble enjoying due to impaired grip strength in his right wrist, don’t you?”

Pause for a second. Here comes a quizzical look.

Two seconds. Trying to figure out what I’m talking about.

Three seconds. Light bulb goes on.

Four seconds. Blushing begins.

Five seconds. Uproarious laughter.

Them: “Oh my God, I hadn’t even thought of that. But you are absolutely right.”

Put that in your differential diagnosis file, people.

So that’s my recent simple (ha ha) #CMEstory. Add yours in the Comment section below. Everyone could use a laugh.

Participation is recommended but totally optional for everyone but Derek (it’s about time he supported one of my ideas).

As long as it’s not another of his hilarious, “You’ll never guess what happened in last week’s Grant Review Committee meeting” anecdotes. I swear if I have to hear one more story about the multi-hued sweater that Gary the medical director wore, I’ll… well, I won’t be happy.

Two Topic Tuesday! (on a Wednesday…)

Just a quick post today. I have to go pick up my kid from rowing practice, so I’m squeezing this in before I go. Two topics for your input and consideration:

Topic #1: CMEpalooza Podcast — Yay or Nay?

I have had a couple people talk to me recently about turning the CMEpalooza videos into audio podcasts, I guess so they can listen to them while they are driving or “exercising” (insert eye-rolling emoji). Honestly, I don’t see the appeal, but different strokes for different folks, I guess. Maybe they are just anxious to hear the smooth dulcet tones of Scott Kober through their new $300 Bose headphones. I dunno.

Anyway, after thoroughly researching the idea (I googled it for 5 minutes), it looks like it would be possible to do without too much difficulty, if enough people are interested in that type of format. Let’s do a quick poll!

Topic #2: Can we all just agree that the odds of me remembering that you were on a CMEpalooza panel are not very good and not get offended when we talk later and I inevitably forget?

It’s not you, it’s me. This happened to me twice last week at the SACME conference and a few more times before that at the Alliance conference. Usually, I will be having a pleasant conversation with someone and then mention something about how I co-produce an online conference called CMEpalooza. The person I’m talking to will sigh, roll their eyes, and say something like, “I know, Derek. I did a CMEpalooza session last year.” To their credit, most people don’t get offended, and we have a nice laugh after I smack my forehead and hang my head in shame. Still, I do feel bad about not remembering.

Look, Scott and I have done a lot of sessions over the past 5 years. Just look at the Archives. I’m going to forget people, especially if you weren’t on a session that I was running. I have never been great at remembering names and faces, and my rapidly increasing age is not helping matters any. Personally, I recommend adding “Previous CMEpalooza Participant” to your name badge, so I can steal a quick look at it and remind myself. That would make my life sooo much easier.

 

Revisiting the Past with CMEpalooza Redux

Back when CMEpalooza started, Derek and I were both in a funny place professionally.

His most recent employer – a medical education company (MECC) whose name you can probably find on his LinkedIn page if you are really interested – had gone under, and he was trying to figure out the next step in his professional career. While the career of “Derek Warnick – CME Consultant” only lasted a short while before he realized he’d be better off with, you know, a job with a regular paycheck and health insurance and all, that stretch plays a very important role in the history of CMEpalooza.

Consultant Derek was, as usual, sitting alone in the corner during an “audience participation” session at the annual Alliance conference thinking deep thoughts.

“Why can’t I put together a conference like this (only better)?”

“Who can I convince to buy dinner for me tonight?”

“Did ALF ever make it back to Melmac?”

We’ll ignore the last two questions for the time being, and focus on the first one, which was obviously the seedling from which CMEpalooza grew. With lots of time on his hands (alas, the life of a newbie “consultant”), Derek was able to go home and think more about his idea of a CME “free-for-all” conference. He bounced the idea off a few colleagues who presumably responded, “Great idea” (or at least that’s what Derek tells me. I have my suspicions) and off he went.

Derek heard from someone that there was a person in the CME world (i.e., me) using this newfangled, and most importantly, free platform called Google Hangouts to live-stream certified education, and he thought, “Huh, maybe this is what I can use.” From there, the pieces fell into place. He came up with a catchy title for the conference, used WordPress to develop a website – this very website we still use today — and basically said to anyone who wanted to present at the inaugural CMEpalooza, “Go for it. I’ve got nothing better to do.”

What, you were expecting a story that involved a business plan, heavy-hitting investors, and accomplished advisers? Surely you know us better than that.

Anyway, while Derek was toiling away at the inaugural CMEpalooza, my employer – a different MECC – was also going under. In a few months, my self-employed career took launch and I too was left with a little too much time on my hands. I sat down with Derek one afternoon and agreed to come aboard as co-producer/co-director/co-something of CMEpalooza (actual transcript of the negotiation: “Me: Do you want help with CMEpalooza?” “Him: “OK.”).

The first order of business for us was to come up with an agenda for our first Fall meeting. Unlike the inaugural CMEpalooza where Derek allowed everyone with any semblance of an idea onto the agenda, it was deemed that we should tighten the reins a little bit for the future and come up with some topics people in the industry would be interested in. With our recent professional history, one of the first sessions we hit on was entitled, “Death of the MECC: Fact or Fiction?” Yes, it was somewhat of an autobiographical topic that hit close to home for both of us, but there was legitimate concern in some MECC circles that our days were numbered.

Jan Perez of CME Outfitters gratefully agreed to moderate this session and recruited a panel from a cross-section of providers to delve into the current and future state of the MECC. As with every CMEpalooza throughout our history, you can watch the session in our Archives (or just click here). To this day, it’s one of my favorite sessions in our history.

Five years later, the MECC model is facing a whole new set of challenges, although fortunately things overall seem to have stabilized since Derek and I had our career crisis (wait a minute, were we the reason our respective MECC employers failed? Let’s not dwell on that too much. Moving on…). As we celebrate the 5-year anniversary of CMEpalooza, we thought it’d be a good idea to revisit that session from our inaugural Fall meeting with a new spin. We’re calling it “The MECC Reborn: Our Present and Future.” It’s on the Spring agenda. There will likely be a “redux” session or two in the Fall as well.

Jan Perez graciously agreed to moderate this session once again (actual transcript from the email invite, “Me: Will you moderate this again? Her: Do I have to?” I kid, I kid). I think it’ll be fascinating to get a sense of where some of our industry leaders see the future of the MECC world heading.

Probably not to Melmac.

The CMEpalooza Spring Agenda (Phew!)

Big day for our team of crack interns. They have put in dozens of hours of unpaid overtime over the last few weeks categorizing and collating the many, many abstracts submitted for our Spring event, routing everything to the appropriate team of judges for evaluation, tabulating results, and then inputting everything into a very intricate spreadsheet.

I think I saw Derek pop his head into the interns work area one afternoon just after lunch last week and say, “Good job boys and girls. Extra credit for all of you,” before ducking back out into the game room for another marathon session of Frogger. He’s quite the motivator. (Side note from Derek: I will kick anyone’s butt in Frogger on the Atari 2600. Challenge extended.)

Anyway, we tapped the kegs, cued up a little Digital Underground, and let out a massive “Huzzah!” around 10 p.m. last night when we finally slotted the last session into the Spring agenda. The website was then quickly updated with all of the information so that our adoring (yes, you love us) public can stop with the phone calls, emails, and faxes telling us to, “Get off your lazy butts, and give us an agenda!”

So here is the official Agenda for CMEpalooza Spring (or click on the Spring 2019 tab). There is some good stuff from some new faces (and some old ones too) that we think you’ll enjoy.

Remember, Wednesday, April 17. Highlight it on your calendar.

A few things to note:

  • After experimenting with dividing CMEpalooza Spring into two half-days last year, we’re back to a full day this year. While people told us on surveys that they would be more likely to watch our sessions if they were split into two days, the actual viewership didn’t bear that out. Numbers don’t lie. Plus, it makes our lives a bit easier mushing everything together in one big lump.
  • There is a open slot at noon ET for the first time in a long while. Is it because Derek and I want a break to grab some lunch? While yes, that would be nice (my lunch usually consists of a scarfed down bowl of Corn Chex between sessions on our broadcast days), the truth is that we’re still looking for a Gold sponsor who wants to claim that session. Anyone? Anyone at at all?
  • Because this is a fifth anniversary of CMEpalooza, we will be having a “redux” session in both the Spring and Fall meetings where we revisit a topic from our first year of Palooza-ing. This spring, we’re bringing back Jan Perez from CME Outfitters to moderate a session looking at the business side of the medical education company (MECC) and how things continue to evolve. More on this in a later blog post.

Rejoice, everyone, rejoice. And join Derek in the game room at 3 p.m. today with a pocket full of quarters, ready for play Burger Time into the wee smalls of the evening.

 

Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain: Top 5 CMEpalooza Bloopers

Before I move on to the topic that is at the top of everyone’s mind — CMEpalooza bloopers, of course — I do want to take a quick moment and thank everyone who submitted an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring. As always, Scott and I are humbled and honored that so many of you would take the time and effort to put together an idea for our little event. We have some interesting and creative ideas among our accepted sessions, and I’m particularly excited that we will have a number of new faces popping up this time around. Our goal is to hopefully have the agenda up for you sometime next week, fingers crossed! (As usual, I am the slow one, so blame me if it’s not up by then…)

And now, on to the bloopers!

While I was at the Alliance conference a few weeks ago, I had a conversation with someone who mentioned that she was always impressed with how smoothly CMEpalooza ran, and “Did we ever have anything go wrong?” After I finished wiping away the tears of laughter from my eyes, I smiled politely and said, “Oh, yes. All the time.”

That is, unfortunately, all too true. We have small, easily resolvable glitches, like someone needing to use a different web browser because their video isn’t working. And we have bigger screw-ups which, for some unknown reason, seem to happen more frequently on my watch (no reason to analyze this in any more detail. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. Also, Scott might screw up all the time and just never tell me. This seems pretty likely, actually. Let’s go with that.) The nice thing about running a virtual conference is that most (but not all) of the things that go wrong happen before we go live on the air, so Scott and I come across like we actually know what we’re doing (haha). This list of Top 5 CMEpalooza Bloopers is a little glimpse behind the CMEpalooza curtain, for better or for worse.

#5: The time power went out on my entire block. This happened during my first session of the second day of the palooza last spring (we experimented with making the palooza two half days instead of one whole day. It wasn’t great.) and was actually remarkable timing. The session was just finishing up, and I was getting ready to close the Hangout when I suddenly got a message saying I was disconnected from the Internet, which was very confusing. Then I looked around and noticed all of my lights were off. Then I looked out my window and noticed all the lights were off EVERYWHERE. It was perfect weather outside, but for some reason the power had been knocked out on my entire block (I still don’t know why). I had about 30 minutes before I had to get my next session ready, and I had no Internet service and none of my neighbors had Internet service. I called a friend who lives about 15 minutes away and she graciously offered her house and Internet for me to use for the rest of the day. I sprinted up the steps to my third-floor office, grabbed the laptop and threw it in my bag, sprinted/tripped back down the steps, and was reaching for my car keys when the power came back on. Breathing a sigh of relief, I went back to my office and got the Hangout ready for my next session with minutes to spare.

#4: The time we couldn’t figure out how to pronounce Vivacity Consulting. I still feel badly about this. Erin Schwartz and her CME consulting company Vivacity Consulting were the very first sponsor of CMEpalooza and deserved so much better than Scott and I repeatedly stumbling over a not-that-difficult-to-pronounce name. Those of you who have ever watched CMEpalooza know that we always have a slide with all of our sponsors listed, and we read off all the sponsor names at the beginning of each session. As I was reading the slide for the first time, I realized I had never said “Vivacity” out loud before and was not exactly sure how to say it. I went with “vivuh-city” because that’s how it sounded in my head and also, I’m an idiot. Scott also got it wrong during the session after mine (ergo he’s also an idiot). Poor Erin sent me a message to try to explain that the correct enunciation is “viˈvasədē”, but I was a lost cause. I got it wrong every time, though credit to me for creativity with a different pronunciation each time. I think Scott eventually got it right by the end, but I never did. It was pathetic. Lesson learned, though, as now I always practice the sponsor names ahead of time.

#3:  The time roofers came to install a new roof outside my office window. They were supposed to come the day before CMEpalooza. Then it rained. Guess who showed up to hammer and saw five feet from my office window just as the first palooza session cranked up? Thankfully, they were only around for the first two sessions and I’m the Quick Draw McGraw of the mute button, so most of the ambient noise was kept to a minimum. Even so, you can still hear hammering and sawing in the background if you listen closely enough.

#2: The time I told Graham McMahon the wrong time for his session. Yes, I asked the CEO of the ACCME to participate in a CMEpalooza session with Lawrence Sherman, he (somewhat to my surprise) accepted, and I then proceeded to tell him and his staff the wrong time it would start. And continued to repeat the wrong time for the next month, only realizing my error when Dr. McMahon’s assistant questioned me about it at 9 a.m. on the morning of CMEpalooza. His session was at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, and I kept telling everyone that it would start at noon ET. I don’t know why. I think the time zones confused me, even though I double and triple checked. It was one of the worst stomach-sinking experiences I’ve ever had when I discovered what I had done. Remarkably, the revised time still worked with everyone’s schedules and the session went great, though it took me about a week to stop being mad at myself.

#1: The time Google Hangouts shut down in the middle of a session. I made this #1 because it was the only one of the top 5 bloopers that had an obvious impact on the session. It was during our The Brief, Wondrous Life of a Grant Request session at CMEpalooza Fall 2016, the first session of the day, and I knew something was going wrong because everyone on the screen was frozen, even though their audio was perfectly fine. I texted Scott, who said everything on the screen looked fine, so I just let it keep going in the hopes that everything would  work out OK. It did not. As I was watching, the Hangout that everyone was on suddenly just…disappeared. It just went away. I sat there stunned for a few seconds, not knowing what to do. I got a text from Scott telling me the video feed was down (very helpful, Scott, thanks). I took a few more moments to think and then quickly brought up a new Hangout, emailed the new link to all the panelists, and then posted the new video stream on the website. In all, it took less than 5 minutes to get back up and running again. I got a new laptop and router the next day.

 

Yes, You Too Can Be a CMEpalooza Sponsor

Like me, I am sure you get annoyed when you open your morning inbox and see another email reminding you that “The deadline for submitting an abstract for Meeting XYZ is next week. Don’t miss your opportunity to share your knowledge with colleagues and further your career!”

So no, this isn’t a post to remind you one last time that the deadline for submitting an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring is tomorrow (even though, well, yes, it is. Derek is counting on you).

Today, I’ll be telling you about something of potentially monumental importance both to you and the organization you represent — sponsorship opportunities for CMEpalooza! Whoo-hoo!

OK, OK, settle down now. That’s enough whoo-hooing for one day. You’ll hurt yourself if this goes on any longer.

Since we introduced sponsorship opportunities prior to CMEpalooza III (it’s Super Bowl week, so Roman numerals are acceptable), more than 40 companies have come aboard to support one or more of our events. Every year, we tweak the goodies offered to sponsors, especially at the higher levels. Our initial batch of sponsors for CMEpalooza XI (that’s this year’s Spring meeting) were put up last week, but there are still many opportunities available at every sponsorship level.

Here are some little known facts about a CMEpalooza sponsorship:

  1. You can have a session of your very own. That’s right, if you want to take the ultimate leap into a Gold sponsorship, you get the honor of working with Derek and I to plan your very own CMEpalooza session. Now I know what you are thinking – “In what world is working with Derek and you considered to be a ‘honor?'” OK, OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but at least it’ll be less painful than a mortgage/rent payment! I had a conversation with a colleague last week who works with a prior Gold sponsor. She told me, “We were going to do it again, but we didn’t have any good ideas for a session.” Hogwash, I tell you, hogwash! We have lots of ideas. They might not be good ideas, but they are ideas. We’ll figure something out.
  2. Derek will write you a haiku. You all know how much I love CMEpalooza haiku. I have written about it before. It’s one of Derek’s favorite blog posts. He cozies up on the sofa with a giant bag of Cheetos, gets that orange cheese dust all over his keyboard, and bangs out what the New York Times literature reviewer calls, “Eh, something.” For the first time this year, all Silver and Gold sponsors of CMEpalooza get your very own customized haiku written by the esteemed Mr. Warnick. He is extremely excited about this opportunity to further advance his pathetic — I mean, poetic — career.
  3. You will get tremendous exposure. Whenever sponsorship time rolls around, we always get the question of, “But, why sir, why?” Look, I can’t promise you that your company’s revenues will double if you decide to sponsor CMEpaloooza (though if they do, I will take full credit). But I can tell you that we have a lot of people read our blog (nearly 500 subscribers who get an email with every post as well as those who simply come to the website every hour), view our sessions (a record 644 unique visitors watched 1 or more sessions in CMEpalooza X last fall), and participate in our special sponsor events like CMEpalooza Bingo!! or CMEpalooza Pursuit!!. For some reason, people seem to like us, and by extension, they will like you if you sign up to be one of our sponsors.
  4. You will have money left over to buy many, many “4 for $4” deals at Wendy’s. While I haven’t actually been to a Wendy’s since, I don’t know, the 10th grade, I won’t argue that their food is expensive (whether or not it is actually good, well, you can be the judge). The point is, CMEpalooza sponsorships aren’t terribly expensive. They start at the low, low price of $600. You probably have that much in your couch cushions right now! OK, maybe you don’t (but if you do, seriously, lift up those cushions more than once a decade). Regardless, you get the point.

If I’ve done enough to convince you to climb aboard the Sponsorship train, well, bully for me. Just send me an email with some very basic info, and we’ll get the process started. If you remain on the fence and want more info, you can check out the full Sponsorship prospectus. If you are laughing uproariously at this post’s shameless plug, the Pit of Despair is just over yonder.

CMEpalooza Spring Abstracts Are Due Friday!

ABSTRACTS FOR CMEpalooza SPRING ARE DUE FEBRUARY 1!
Click here to go to the abstract submission form (bottom of the page)

As I’ve mentioned here numerous times before, my personality definitely leans towards the introverted side of the social spectrum. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at repressing my natural inclinations to avoid human interaction, especially when attending things such as the Alliance conference.

Shockingly, I have found that I even sort of like talking to people… sometimes… and that people, maybe, kind of like talking to me? I don’t know, that might be pushing it, but I have found that it’s helpful for me to take little breaks of solitude during the day in order to recharge. This, however, can lead to things like this:

This, of course, leads to a follow-up question that I know you all are asking right now: Does this mean Scott is the extrovert of the CMEpalooza team??

The answer is yes.

Even more incredible to believe is that not only is he the extrovert of CMEpalooza, he is also our optimist. Stunning revelations, I know, but true! I’m the one who after two years of doing CMEpalooza informed Scott that this was probably our apex and it was all downhill from here. I’m the one who assumed no one would ever want to be a sponsor of our events. And I’m the one who every year assumes no one will submit an abstract to present at CMEpalooza Spring.

(Side note: My pessimism should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever watched a Sixers game with me. I love them, but always anticipate failure and defeat.)

To my delight, I talked with several people at the Alliance conference who said they were planning to submit an abstract for this year’s CMEpalooza Spring. Yay! I’m always thrilled that people still enjoy the palooza and want to participate.

(Do I think most of the people I talked to about submitting an abstract will change their mind and never do it?…NO!…I mean, no, I do not…but…I mean…ok, yes, I do, but ignore me…)

One of the questions that came up during these conversations is, “What topics are other people considering abstracts for?” To help answer that, I put together a list of the abstract titles from some of the people I talked with at the conference. I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ve not included their last names, but I think it will help give you an idea of what’s under consideration:

Donald T (politician/businessman, Washington DC) – Building a Wall Between Good and Bad Education
Joel E (basketball player, Philadelphia) – Learning to Trust the Process and Other Meeting Planning Tips 
Bruce W (entrepreneur, Gotham) – Unmasking the Learning Myths That Drive Me Batty
Cardi B (musician, Bronx) – I Like It!: True Confessions of an Accreditation Fanatic
Tom B (football player, Boston) – Deflating Expectations About Winning Grant Requests
Nancy P (politician, Washington DC) – Saying No: Advice for Negotiating with Difficult Faculty
Daenerys T of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt (Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons) – How to Train a Dragon: No, Seriously, That’s It…I Will Teach You How to Train a Frickin’ Dragon

And just in case the reminder at the top wasn’t enough, please remember that abstracts for CMEpalooza Spring are due on Friday.

Click here to go to the abstract submission form

A Special CMEpalooza Offer

We’re big fans of free here at CMEpalooza headquarters. Just ask our trusty interns, who constantly ask about things like “back pay” and “overtime” and “bonuses.” Ha ha, keep dreaming people!

But anyway, we know that a slice of the CME/CE community is decamping to the Alliance meeting in National Harbor, MD, this week, so we figured we’d come up with something special for our friends and fans in attendance.

Find Derek (he’s the tall guy with the goofy grin and the faraway look in his eyes) and utter the simple phrase “Shake Milton” to get a free — yes, free! — registration to CMEpalooza Spring (offer limited to the first 500 participants).

Even better, this simple utterance will serve as an ice breaker to talk to Derek about any number of topics about which he is passionate. For instance: Cocoa Puffs, synchronized swimming, supply-side economics, the War of 1812, archipelagos, and postmodern architecture. He’s a fascinating guy.

Choose Your Own (Alliance) Adventure – Redux

Well, another Alliance annual conference is upon us, and though the government may be shut down, the CME community marches on.

For those of you unable to attend the annual conference this year, we at CMEpalooza are here to help. While your colleagues are holed up in a conference room somewhere in “exotic” National Harbor, MD, why not take one day this week to create your own personal annual conference?

We’ve recently updated the CMEpalooza Archive page to include all of the sessions from CMEpalooza Fall 2018, and there are now over 90 different (free) educational sessions for you to choose from. You can easily put together a whole week’s worth of faux-annual conference days if you want to (Don’t do that. You have better things to do with your time. Like writing an essay debating which Darrin on Bewitched was superior, Dick York or Dick Sargent. Just take a couple hours.).

To help get you started, I’ve taken the liberty of attempting to re-create a typical day at the Alliance conference, but using archived CMEpalooza sessions for the agenda. These are just suggested sessions; feel free to substitute in any of the other sessions and choose your own annual conference adventure.

The night before: Drink a few too many adult beverages, and stay up a minimum of two hours past your usual bedtime. This is a critical step in preparing for the next day’s learning experience. Also, set out your running clothes so you are ready for an early morning run before the conference starts.

6:30 a.m.: Turn off your alarm and go back to sleep. Curse yourself for drinking too much and/or going to bed too late. Scowl at the waiting running clothes mocking you from their place on the shelf.

Breakfast: Get out of bed and walk to the coffee shop around the corner to eat breakfast. Remind yourself of the promise you made to eat healthier this year. Order a 4-pack of mini muffins and a couple strips of bacon anyway. Pat yourself on the back for accepting the free mini-bran muffin offered to you by the cashier. Throw the bran muffin in the trash. What’s bran anyway?

9:00 a.m. Keynote: Chatting With Graham McMahon
Who better to kickoff our annual conference than the President and CEO of the ACCME?

10:00 a.m. Keynote Discussion: Hop on the Twitters and share your thoughts on the keynote address using the #CMEpalooza hashtag. Send an email to one of your colleagues or to Scott with your key takeaways and ask for their opinion.

Break: Grab an overbrewed coffee and tell anyone around (including your pets) that you are going to your room to check email. Turn on the TV and watch SportsCenter instead.

11:00 a.m. Plenary Session: Seeing It Both Ways
This session, featuring two representatives from medical education companies and two from industry, will focus on the variables that go into a grant budget and why they vary so widely from provider to provider. How does industry make comparisons between submissions? What is and is not considered reasonable? How are providers who have never received previous funding evaluated?

Lunch: To really recreate the conference experience, go gaze in your refrigerator at the free food available to you. Decide you don’t like any of the options provided because they either don’t appeal to you or aren’t healthy enough. Go out to eat at the closest restaurant to you with the intention of ordering a salad and glass of water. Order a hamburger and fries instead. For the sake of authenticity, pay the confused waitress $45 for the food.

1:30 p.m. Plenary Session: Fear Not the Force: ​Twenty Predictions Five Years Later
Five years ago, great masters within our galaxy predicted the elements of change, threat, and opportunity that can transform learning into an agent of change. Using Dr. Curtis Olson’s mid-2012 publication, Twenty Predictions for the Future of CPD: Implications of the Shift from the Update Model to Improving Clinical Practice, medical Jedi-in-training are now assembling to better understand what has occurred since publication, and the powerful forces in motion that will influence the most essential decisions within our industry now and tomorrow. Join us to be reminded that the Force is in every one of us should we choose to accept it.

Break: Click over to the Exhibit Hall and browse around the sponsors who have signed up for CMEpalooza Spring 2019, so far. In order to replicate the true exhibit hall experience, invite a family member/colleague/neighbor/pet to come into the room and then avoid making eye-contact with them while you read more about the sponsors. After you’re done, tell them you need to check email, but go on Facebook instead and update your status (“OMG I am at the BEST conf EVERRRRRRR!!! lol YOLO, amirite???”)

3:30 p.m. Plenary Session: Not Another Outcomes Panel! (Or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bar Graphs)
In recent years, the discussion about outcomes levels has elevated reports from just including information about “butts in seats” and “the quality of the dinner” to “nonoverlap” effect sizes, participant profiling, and more advanced statistical modeling. But, with these advances, the only comparators between the programs that remain are participation and satisfaction. Additionally, even dynamic outcomes reports are leaving out key components that not only make outcomes difficult to aggregate but difficult to understand the actual impact of these programs.

This panel will put together supporters who have also lived in provider worlds to answer the following pressing questions:

  • What components are supporters actually looking for in outcomes reports?
  • What features do the best reports contain?
  • What mistakes or omissions are commonly found?
  • Has the CMS ruling on CPIA changed anything regarding reporting?
  • How do supporters’ needs align to the needs of health systems and other internal stakeholders?
  • What are the differences between educational outcomes and clinical trial outcomes? How do we talk about that difference with stakeholders and help them understand the significance of education?

Ultimately the goal of this discussion is show the need for outcomes standardization and why it will benefit everyone within medical education.

Reception: Invite a bunch of people over to your house for drinks and light hors d’oeuvres. As they come in the door, ask each person for I.D. in order to verify it is the person you invited. Give them each two tickets they can redeem for drinks and glare at them if they ask for another. Make sure you have a giant cheese ball, because a reception just isn’t a reception without a cheese ball. Walk around for 10 minutes, pretend to get an urgent phone call, and stride quickly out the door with the phone to your ear. Leave. Hopefully, when you come back home in 4 hours, everyone will either have left or passed out in the loo.

Fin.