Whatever Happened to Johnny?

You guys remember Johnny? He lived deep down in Louisiana, close to New Orleans. Wa-a-ay back up in the woods, among the evergreens. Had himself a log cabin made of earth and wood. He never ever learned to read or write so well, but he could play a guitar just like a-ringing a bell. Remember that guy?

Little known fact about Johnny: He used to work on the docks. Then the union went on strike, he got down on his luck and it was tough. So tough. Last we heard, his girlfriend was dreaming of running away and Johnny was caught up in a vortex of self-defeating ennui, claiming that it didn’t make a difference if they made it or not. Things looked bleak.

So, who’s Johnny (she’s said. And smiled in her special way)?

He turned to a life in CME as an outcomes specialist, of course. We were a little late in adding a description to our Outcomes: A Study in Three Acts session, but that was only because the individuals involved in the session were busy tracking down Johnny and recording his life story. You can now read an overview of what they found on our agenda page. Be sure to join Jason Olivieri, Andrew Bowser, and Jamie Reiter at 3 p.m. ET on October 18 as they follow along with Johnny as he learns about study design, data collection, and analysis. At the end, we’ll all have some practical new tools for enhancing our outcomes practice.

Something New for Our Sponsors

You may have noticed (or not, in which case you should look now) that the CMEpalooza Sponsor page is pretty packed these days. For the first time in the history of CMEpalooza, we’re officially sold out of both our Gold and Silver level sponsorships for CMEpalooza Fall, and we’re still more than 2 months from our live broadcast date.

Before I continue along to some of the new stuff, I wanted to recognize all of those wise organizations who have currently chosen to align themselves with our event as Official CMEpalooza Sponsors:

  • Gold Sponsors — Genentech and Prova Education
  • Silver Sponsors — ASiM, Forefront Collaborative, Global Academy for Medical Education, Integrity CE, Practicing Clinicians Exchange
  • Bronze Sponsors — Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning, Clinical Care Options, CMEology, HighMarksCE, Impact Education, Kynectiv, Primary Care Network, PVI, RMEI, Thistle Editorial

In his usual meandering post that took 1,000 words to get to the point (Hey, I was on vacation. I had time. -DW), Derek wrote about the challenges of constantly needing to be creative to come up with new ideas for our Spring and Fall broadcasts. It’s the same story with our sponsorship opportunities – it’s easy to just trot out the same things every year, but we try to come up with some new ideas when and where we can.

In that vein, today we are trotting out two new sponsorship opportunities for CMEpalooza Fall, both of which are included within our updated Sponsorship Prospectus:

  • #CMEpalooza Mega-Blog — On 1 specific date prior to CMEpalooza Fall, we’ll open up our blog to members of the CME community, who will all be asked to write a short (250-300 words) essay on a specific topic related to CME. Maybe it’s “The Day I Learned That CME Makes a Difference” or “Why We Love Our CME Community” – we’re not sure and we can work with you on an interested sponsor.
  • #CMEpalooza Chat — A few years back, there used to be a periodic moderated CME chat on Twitter that was pretty popular and was a good way to get people talking about important issues in our industry. This would be a Sponsored reincarnation of that chat, where Derek and I (and/or another invited moderator) would coordinate a Twitter discussion on specific topics during 4, 30-minute blocks on a specific date prior to CMEpalooza Fall. Again, we could work with the sponsor on the specific topics for each discussion block.

There are other opportunities that remain available as well — we take an unlimited number of Bronze sponsors, for instance. The CMEpalooza Q&A Line is still available for the Fall as well. I’m not even going to mention poor CMEpalooza Spotlight anymore.

So take a look and let us know if you are interested. Things are moving fast these days so probably best not to wait too long.

On a totally unrelated note, a quick personal plug: I know how much our audience likes FREE things, so if you are at all interested in history (especially Philadelphia history), you can follow along with me as I give a FREE Twilight Tour of Independence National Historic Park this Friday (that’s Aug. 18) from 6-7 p.m. on Facebook Live. Just go to this link – the promo photo is terrible, but that’s out of my hands: www.facebook.com/FINHP. You can ask questions and everything, right along with the tourists on the actual walking tour itself.

Stranger Things, the Atari 2600, and a Quest for New Ideas

I have a confession to make: I’m a sucker for ‘80s nostalgia. I recently finished watching Netflix’s 8-episode ode to the ‘80s, Stranger Things, which quickly sucked me in with its bad fashion (garish sweaters paired with high-waisted, acid-washed jeans), synth-heavy soundtrack, and old school D&D role playing. It sort of has an ET meets The Goonies meets Stand By Me vibe to it. I dug it.

One of the most entertaining books I’ve read recently is Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, which is like manna to any child of the ‘80s. I particularly appreciated Cline intentionally going beyond the typical tropes of the time period and giving us more of an ‘80s deep dive. He didn’t just reference the Atari 2600 game console, but also ColecoVision and Intellivision. Not just Pac-Man, but Pitfall and Joust, too. I thought it was brilliant.

(Side note: lest you think I am an Atari 2600 snob, please note that when asked to consider the best Christmas gift I ever received, I continue to cite the Christmas of 1983 when my parents pulled the old Well-I-Guess-We-Have-Given-Out-All-The-Presents-Oh-Hey-What’s-This-Hidden-Behind-The-Sofa-Now-How-Did-That-Get-There trick, when what to my disbelieving eyes should appear but a brand new Atari 2600, complete with included games Combat and Action Pak, paddle controllers, and joysticks. It was an amazing moment and I still give my parents – now in their 70’s – kudos for pulling it off.)

(Second side note: Activision’s Pitfall was the greatest game ever on the Atari 2600 and if you disagree, I will fight you. The worst game? E.T. You can read about it here. Rumor has it that it was so horrible, they buried thousands of cartridges somewhere in New Mexico. It deserved an even worse fate.)

Recently, a friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook that showed a beautiful nature scene with a gurgling brook, radiant wildflowers, trees bursting with fall colors, a butterfly in mid-flight, and two towheaded little boys playing happily. The caption in white Arial font read: “They’ll never remember their best day watching TV.” I heartily disagreed as I absolutely remember my best day watching TV. I don’t remember the specific date – I’m guessing sometime in 1984 – but I do remember what I watched: Inspector Gadget, Charlie’s Angels (rerun), Magnum P.I., and Simon & Simon. This was a momentous occasion because generally I was only allowed to watch one hour of TV a day. Being allowed to watch 3 ½ hours straight blew my mind. Did it help that my mom was away and it was only me and my dad (who I’m pretty sure watched more TV after I went to bed) at home? That’s probably a safe bet.

(Now…where was I going with this…I had a point I was trying to make…hmmm…Scott and I are the modern day Rick and A.J. Simon of CME?…no, that’s not it…I should grow a mustache like Tom Selleck?…well, yes, of course, but I don’t think that was my point…oh, I remember…)

The trouble with nostalgia and reflecting too much on the past is that it keeps us stuck in a rut. We have fond memories of these periods in time, but we don’t really want to still be there. Does anyone miss leg warmers? Is anyone sad that we don’t still play Pong? Scott and I do our best to keep CMEpalooza fresh, but it can be a struggle to keep from doing the same topics, the same types of sessions, and repeating faculty. Don’t get me wrong; I think the agenda for CMEpalooza Fall is one of the best we have ever put together and I’m really excited for it. But every year, it gets a little harder to come up with new ideas.

So, I’m here to ask for your help. If you have an original idea for CMEpalooza, we would love to hear about it. It can be a topic, a new speaker, an idea for improving audience participation, a new format for a session, or a new form of poetry I should use instead of CMEpalooza Haiku (impossible!). Maybe you want to guest write a blog post. We’re interested in hearing about anything – the crazier the better (Scott probably disagrees with that part, but this is my blog post so I get to write what I want.)

No guarantees that we will use your idea, but if we do, we will let you know that we’re interested and ask if and how much you would like to be involved. Our email addresses are below for you to use to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Derek – theCMEguy@gmail.com

Scott – scott@medcasewriter.com

The Big Reveal: 2017 CMEpalooza Fall Agenda

There is a reason you don’t hear much from Derek and I in the immediate months after each of our CMEpalooza broadcasts.

We’re mentally exhausted.

Let’s face it, there is only so much patience you have for your little annoying brother who keeps pestering you every day for weeks and weeks about some excruciating minutiae (and yes, in this parable, Derek is the annoying little brother, even though he is older than me). We both just need a break from each other, from the blog, and from thinking about CMEpalooza.

So we take our requisite tropical island vacations (wait, New Jersey’s Long Beach Island isn’t tropical?) to recharge our batteries and let the ideas start to simmer for the next event.

And boy did they bubble over this time.

Today, we proudly present the agenda for CMEpalooza Fall, packed chock full of 7 hours of interesting and unique sessions sure to pique your interest.

We’re got Graham McMahon from the ACCME joining us for the first time. We’ve got advice columnists, breakers of myths, a 3-act performance. We’ve even got a session about Donald Trump (yikes).

It’s seriously a lot of really interesting stuff, and I’m not just saying that because Derek and I have spent the last month lining up faculty and solidifying the session schedule. We’re going to be asking our devoted fans (that’s you) for some help, and soon, in providing material for us to maximize the impact of some of these sessions, but for now, feel free to admire the educational bounty that will be provided for you on Wednesday, October 18. And mark your calendars, if you haven’t already.

Click here to view the CMEpalooza Fall agenda 

Take Our Survey and I’ll Stop Bugging You

Alternative titles for this blog post that were left on the cutting room floor:

  • Take Our Survey And Express Your Disappointment That You Didn’t Get to See a Repeat of Me Freaking Out Due to My Laptop Spontaneously Shutting Down Again
  • Take Our Survey So You Can Tell Us How Much You Liked Our Collared Shirts
  • Take Our Survey or Else Scott Will Drive to Your House and Throw Pebbles at Your Window Until You Take It
  • Take Our Survey or Else I Will Drive to Your House and Stand Outside Your Window Holding a Boombox Over My Head Playing “In Your Eyes” Like John Cusack in Say Anything

Anyways, if you happened to watch any of the CMEpalooza sessions last week, please take our quick survey. It’s super-helpful to us to help plan future iterations of our event and gives us a little bit better idea of how many people watched. Here’s the link:


And to the person who responded to our survey and requested an evaluation to rate all the sessions: No.

Oh, and if you weren’t able to join us live, all the sessions are archived on the Spring agenda page. Enjoy!

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Spring?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza Spring?
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 Everybody Have Fun Tonight by 80’s legends Wang Chung 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 Everybody Have Fun Tonight by 80’s legends Wang Chung at the top of your lungs while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring at the office?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring at home?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring in a conference room with 100 other people?
Please do.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring while at a New York Mets game? 

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring with Vice President Mike Pence?
I don’t know. Let’s ask him.

I guess he’s busy.

Do I have to pre-register or register?

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza Spring? I love paying registration fees.

No. You don’t have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza.

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 seven questions and shouldn’t take you more than 60 seconds. If it takes you more than 60 seconds, Scott will give you free swing dance lessons.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza Spring?
A surprising amount of people have asked us this over the years, and we have never had one. This year, we have one. Now, we’re not accredited or certified or anything like that. We also have no way of verifying whether you actually watched any of these sessions or not. But if you want a certificate of completion that you can use to self-report participation in CMEpalooza Spring 2017, here you go. I’ll also post it on the LIVE page tomorrow.

How do I ask questions to the presenters?
Good question. There are three ways you can ask questions:

  1. Send a text to the Educational Measures text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
  2. Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag
  3. Click on the Google Slides link on the LIVE page and enter your question there

Do I have to watch all the sessions?
YES! No. Watch what interests you.

What if I’m busy during the day of the live broadcast?
All the sessions will be archived on the website, probably within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the session. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a new intern who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here he is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.

CMEpalooza Haiku

I thought about not doing CMEpalooza Haiku this time, but it’s Scott’s favorite recurring post and he begged and begged me to do it again. I hate to disappoint the guy, so here again are summaries of each CMEpalooza Spring session in haiku. Enjoy!

april the nineteenth
cmepalooza spring
here we go again

best learning formats?
you’ll find out at ten a.m.
from the horse’s mouth

cookie dough is good
just like your programs should be
the worst: vanilla

one, two, and three A’s
forays into the four A’s
five is one too much

if the word “network”
causes you fear and loathing
this session’s for you

what is “data viz?”
not sure, but you’re a poet
and might not know it

such a foggy world
is CME compliance
here is clarity

the day’s last session
a mistake celebration
so perfect for scott

don’t forget to watch
the GAME Company Spotlight
it’s today at noon

Monday morning notes

A few quick hitters to start your week:

  • If you haven’t already set the time aside, you really should plan to watch our CMEpalooza Company Spotlight this Wednesday (April 12) at noon ET, where I’ll be joined by a team from Global Academy for Medical Education. I always think it’s interesting to hear how different organizations focus their CME missions differently and approach challenges/opportunities creatively. It’s only 30 minutes, and I can promise you’ll take something away from it.You can watch on the Spotlight on our LIVE page. There will be the usual opportunity to ask questions and offer comments if you’d like. Or you can just lurk silently.
  • Thanks to everyone who played CMEpalooza Pursuit. We had a record number of entries for one of our Sponsor events and crashed a number of our Sponsor websites with the thousands of visitors to their pages who were digging for correct answers. We even had one brown-noser who went above and beyond and completed the full question board. Alas, she was not a prize winner.Here is a list of our winners:
    • Grand Prize ($100 Amazon gift card) – Amanda Kaczerski
    • $50 Amazon gift cards – Audrie Tornow, Gabriella Cruze, Don Harting, Kristi English, Elizabeth McDonald
    • $25 Amazon gift cards – Edeline Mitton, Danielle DeFour, Bonnie Bixler, Andrea Thrasher, Joanne Wise, Karin Pearson
  • We’re a little more than a week away from our Spring extravaganza. If you haven’t already called out sick so that you can watch every session from your couch in your jammies, probably a good idea to start working on your cough soon.

Last Chance to Play CMEpalooza Pursuit – Entries Due Today

Today is the deadline for entries into CMEpalooza Pursuit – forms must be sent to me before midnight ET. Don’t forget that we’re giving away $500 in Amazon gift cards and really only asking for 5-10 minutes of your time. You never know, you might learn something along the way too.

Here is a reminder of how to play:

Here are the rules of CMEpalooza Pursuit:

1. Call up the Sponsor page on the CMEpalooza website. You’ll need this for reference purposes to access our Sponsors’ websites.

2. Download the CMEpalooza Pursuit question form by clicking on this link.

You’ll see that questions are divided into categories that will be familiar to anyone who has ever played Trivial Pursuit – Geography, Entertainment, History, Arts & Literature, Science & Nature, and Sports & Leisure. There are three questions within each category, the answers to which can all be found on the sponsoring company website.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to answer every question – just one per category. If you want to be the teacher’s pet, of course, you can answer every question, though you get no formal extra credit, just that all over warm feeling for a job well done.

3. Download the CMEpalooza Pursuit answer form by clicking on this link. This is where you will enter in your answers – remember, only one answer is required per category. I promise that none of the questions are tricky or difficult. If it takes you more than 10 minutes to complete the entire challenge, you are doing something wrong.

4. Email me your completed answer form. It’s scott@medcasewriter.com. All completed forms will be entered into our drawing. One entry per person. Perhaps you make this a company-wide challenge and have your entire team enter individually. Perhaps you keep this a secret so that your chances of winning improve. Whatever. Just make sure that your entry is submitted by the deadline of midnight ET on Thursday, April 6.