Me, an Intern? But Why?

Last week, we announced the opening of the application process for our CMEpalooza Fall intern. You may have seen the news on the ticker of one of your favorite cable news stations (alas, we were not deemed important enough for those hard-hitting news anchors to actually discuss and debate. Their loss).

I suspect, however, that many of you dismissed the news without giving it a second thought. “Why would I want to be an intern? I have 15 years of experience in CME, I work full time, and I am just barely surviving being cooped up at home for the foreseeable future with my spouse, our two bratty kids, and a cat with bladder issues. An internship? No thanks.”

Look, I get it. You think of an intern and you see a 20-something year old right out of Hollywood casting ready to take on the corporate world and get a leg up on the rat race.

But that’s not what a CMEpalooza internship is. For starters, there is only one intern for each of our meetings so you are special right from the start. Secondly, you aren’t getting us coffee (no matter how many times Derek may ask you to), you won’t be making hundreds of copies of our Fall agenda (there is no copier), and you won’t even need to tweet to your friends and colleagues how great CMEpalooza is (though that would be nice). There is no mindless busywork because “we don’t have time to spend with you.” This is actually something that will be fun.

As the CMEpalooza Fall intern, you’ll get to do basically whatever you want to do. You get to tap into your creative side that has been beaten down these last few months. Your name gets out to the CME community as someone who cares about our industry and has something important to say. And hey, you get to work with Derek and I (OK, let’s ignore that one as a perk).

There are many more details about the nuts and bolts of this internship on last week’s post that I’m not going to rehash here. If you are interested in applying, you have until the stroke of midnight ET on Friday, July 3 to submit your application. There isn’t much to it, but you should probably be familiar with the structure of a haiku (it’s 5-7-5 people).

 

 

When They Zig, We Zag

Back in ancient times, a wise man once said: “Why do we pay lots of money to go to conferences when we could stay at home in our comfy clothes and do the same thing much cheaper?”

That wise man was me (and by “wise” I mean “lazy and bored”) and the year was 2014 (Ahh, 2014. Back in the days when we did crazy things like leave the house and give random strangers high-fives. Such an innocent time.) CMEpalooza was born, and maybe there were other virtual conferences around then, but I certainly wasn’t aware of them. I don’t say that to brag – it seemed like sort of a silly idea at the time.

Fast forward six years and virtual conferences are now everywhere. Was CMEpalooza a trendsetter that made everyone jealous so they decided to copy our idea? As much as I’d like to claim imitation as the sincerest form of flattery, clearly the coronavirus deserves all due credit for the surge in online meetings. We were just lucky enough to stumble onto the idea a few years ahead of time.

As Scott mentioned earlier in the week, we have started the planning process for CMEpalooza Fall (happening on Wednesday, October 14), and I wanted to share with you a few updates we are making to help keep us on the cutting edge. Like a wide receiver sprinting downfield, we at CMEpalooza have looked over our shoulder, seen the cornerback closing in, and made our move. We are going old school.

That’s right, the original virtual conference is going audio-only! Instead of video conferencing, we are switching to the old teleconference format you grew to love in the early aughts. It’s going to be great! Approximately 300 people on a teleconference with beeping and booping every time someone calls in or hangs-up. During the Q&A time, we will open the line for anyone to talk so that there will be a long period of silence and then a cacophony to rival the Tower of Babel as everyone asks a question at the same time. Just think of the fond memories it will dredge up.

Also, we will be shutting down the blog and transferring everything over to Google+ and MySpace. Despite going old school, Scott and I still believe that social media is a vital cog in our outreach to the CE community. TikTok is the hot social network of 2020, but the TikTok Teens aren’t really our key demographic, you know? We think these two platforms will really help us reach our target audience.

I know these changes might seem a bit drastic, but I really think that nostalgia-conferencing is the next big thing, and we are ready to jump on it. If anyone has any questions or ideas you want to discuss with me, just hit me up on my beeper. The number is 267-99-…hold on.

[…]

[…]

OK, I have just been informed that MySpace is now myspace and barely functional and Google+ is…well…extinct. Shoot, that really puts a crimp in our promotional strategy. Ugh, this is going to take more planning than I expected. Sigh…I guess we will just have to go back to the old video conference format for the time being.

Sorry to disappoint you all. It looks like nostalgia-conferencing will have to wait for another time…

(Note from Scott: Please, someone save me from Derek’s flashbacks to the “good old past” and fill out an application to be our Fall intern. It’ll be fun. Maybe.)

Bring Some Joy to Your Life: Our CMEpalooza Fall Intern Application is Open

Hello again people. We’ve missed you. Heck, we’ve missed anyone. How do I know? Even Derek said to me last week, “Man, I really miss socializing with people besides my wife and kids.” You know when the world’s self-proclaimed No. 1 Introvert starts to break down that things are seriously ca-ca.

Anyway, after the usual dragging of our feet following a successful Spring meeting (record attendance once again BTW), Derek and I reconvened last week to start talking about CMEpalooza Fall (set your calendar for Wednesday, October 14). We have the usual basket of good/bad ideas for sessions that we’ll be picking over a bit more this week, but one thing we know we’ll be repeating is the selection of an official CMEpalooza Fall intern.

Admittedly, our Fall intern will have some pretty big shoes to fill. Not only will they be following in the footsteps of our most talented intern ever (the illustrious Spring intern Katie), but they’ll also have to up their game to even approach the varied skills of Derek and I. OK, maybe that second component won’t be so tough.

Not convinced this is the perfect opportunity for you? Maybe you’ll be swayed by what Spring intern Katie had to say about her experience.

“It was OK, I guess.”

A rousing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one.

So what exactly are the expected duties of the CMEpalooza Fall 2020 Intern?

  1. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the CMEpalooza blog at your leisure. Maybe once a month or so. You can write about just about anything. Hopefully nothing that will offend others. That’s typically my territory.
  2. We’ll have you shadow one of us virtually as we plan a CMEpalooza session. You’ll learn how the proverbial sausage is made. Maybe you’ll even pick up a thing or two that you can incorporate into your real job. You’ll even have the chance to show up on camera during a Fall session so you can show your doubting friends and family that, yes, you are officially part of the CMEpalooza team.
  3. You will spend every other Saturday spending 2 hours sewing masks to send to every CMEpalooza panelist for our Fall meeting (optional duty)
  4. You can let us know if there is another way you want to contribute. Maybe you are web-savvy and have some suggestions on how to spruce up the website. Maybe you have an idea on how we can market CMEpalooza better. Maybe you just want to frequently tell Derek and I how great we are. These all work.

So what qualifications are we looking for?

  1. You should be working in CME in some capacity
  2. You should have a thick skin – it’s pretty certain that we will make fun of you at some point
  3. You should not consider Mork and Mindy to be the “greatest TV show ever about an alien being” (that would be ALF). Sorry, but we have to draw the line somewhere.

Beyond that, we’re open to anyone. Maybe you have only worked in CME for 1 year and want to learn more about our industry? Great. Maybe you’ve worked in CME for 25 years and want to do something fun? Also great. Maybe it’s been your lifelong dream to get a personal email from Derek and you think that this is your chance? Er, um, OK.

Please also note that if you applied for our Spring intern position and were not selected, you can send in an application once again for this fall. The questionnaire is slightly different, but still very simple to complete.

While this is an unpaid position, Derek has promised to send our CMEpalooza Fall 2020 Intern an unopened pack of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards (he’s a fan of Schizo Fran).

The application process for the CMEpalooza Fall 2020 Intern is simple and short. Fill out a brief questionnaire by clicking on this link to apply. Every answer is vitally important so please think before you respond. The application process will close on Friday, July 3, at which time a special task force will cull through the applications to select our winner. You can email us if you have any questions (our email address is on this site somewhere – you just need to find it).

You Had Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Picture this: Packed live in-person/virtual meeting, lots of questions from the audience, limited time to get to them.

A voice says: “We’re sorry, but we’re out of time. If we didn’t get to your questions, please feel free to write it out, give it to one of our staff, and our faculty will address them after the session. We’ll make their responses available, um, somehow.”

But do they? Not in my experience.

Well, CMEpalooza is not like those other meetings, so when our faculty promises to “get back to everyone” with their thoughts on questions we could not address during our live sessions, they mean it! And so, today, we’re offering you additional thoughts from two of our most popular sessions last week where the questions came flooding in from the live audience:

In addition, we also had requests for slides from two other sessions. You can find those below:

Our CMEpalooza Spring Intern Says Her Farewell

It is with a heavy heart that Derek and I wished our inaugural CMEpalooza intern Katie a bon voyage this week. Alas, we couldn’t wave from the shore as she boarded a cruise to Puerto Vallarta…

Here are Katie’s parting words for everyone.

Well, folks, all good things must come to an end!

It has been a pleasure sharing my thoughts with you all, and I hope you enjoyed CMEpalooza Spring 2020! I’ve learned a few things on this journey. For instance, Scott is awesome and Derek is, um, Derek (I kid, they are both wonderful, but Scott made me say it!)

I had CMEpalooza pulled up on my TV earlier this week, and it was great to hear what everyone had to say. I’ve been limited to my laptop and its speakers for so many weeks, which just doesn’t have the same effect, so actually being able to watch a bigger screen was a nice treat. If you missed or want to replay any of the CMEpalooza Spring 2020 sessions, they are all available online here (just click “View archive” under each session title).

While creating my farewell post, it’s impossible to not address the elephant in the room, COVID-19. It has tremendously impacted our industry. All of us are in this same boat of uncertainty, thinking about how we can help the front-line staff fighting for survival every day while also continuing the “normal business” of educating the full swath of healthcare providers. I love the quote, “Change is the only constant in life.” COVID-19 has brought a lot of change, but it has also brought opportunity. A few sessions during CMEpalooza Spring addressed ways in which their organization is adapting to our new world. With each session, there was something all of us can take away from the conversation and change about our current processes to better our programs.

The 9 a.m. session, entitled “How Should the CE Industry Respond to a Novel Healthcare Crisis,” brought the interesting perspective of a frontline provider that I hadn’t heard yet.

The 10 a.m. session talked about the proposed changes to the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support. After this session, the proposed changes don’t seem like such a shock anymore. Perhaps that’s because we’re in a shocking state in general, but if the changes are approved, we’ll have time to adjust, and in the end, it will be fine. We can do it!

The 11 a.m. session was all about OUTCOMES! They nicely tied together best practices for National Board of Medical Examiners guidelines, how to create questions, and tips on ways review your data (measurements and costs).

The noon session panelists shared their perspectives on ways to focus on behavioral change to meet outcomes and how to help physicians adopt tools to meet their educational goals and improve patient care.

The 1 p.m. session was a nice discussion where panelists shared opportunities and their expertise on how to build momentum to move forward with educational redesign.

The 2 p.m. session was a great one to listen to. Even though we don’t submit grant requests at my institution, it was interesting to hear how things go down on the grant supporter side. I also learned a new term – change of scope – and that there is an expectation to have a contingency plan in place when submitting grants.

The 3 p.m. session was Jake Powers. They did it again! I love this session. It’s a great blend of creativity and knowledge. I thought it was funny that I hadn’t heard of “change of scope” before the previous session, and then Jake Powers solved the mystery for me by providing the definition and applying it. So much better than what Google would have provided. Thank you, Jack, I mean Jake!

The 4 p.m. session is one of my favorite formats. It is nice to see real-life cases that affect our community and hear how a variety of panelists would approach each challenge. The session was split so you got to hear how the MEEC group and hospital-based group would handle different scenarios presented. (Tiger King was a hot topic… just kidding it was COVID-19)

As always, every session was great, and I really enjoyed learning from my peers. It is so important during this time to reach out to your fellow colleagues, participate in these online meetings, read online articles, and/or listen to podcasts. As it relates to the CME industry, not the news (as I’m steering clear for a bit), it makes me feel more at ease to be in the know and hear about how others are adapting to the changes.

I remind you all to take deep breaths through the moments of uncertainty, stress, and anxiety that will arise in the coming weeks and months. You are not alone.

It has been a great experience working with Scott and Derek, and I thank them for the opportunity to be part of this extraordinary community. I’m sure I’ll see you all around!

Be Well and Be Safe,

Katie O’Connell – First-Ever CMEpalooza Intern 😊

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 broadcast?
No. You are not on the broadcast. You are only watching a video feed of the broadcast. You can play “Basketball” by Kurtis Blow at full volume and no one will hear you except your neighbors, who might call the police, who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza. So, don’t play “Basketball” by Kurtis Blow at full volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at home?
Yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at the office?
No! Stay home!

Can I watch CMEpalooza in a conference room with 150 other people?
No! Stay home!

Can I watch CMEpalooza while at a coffee shop?
That depends. Do you own your own coffee shop and will you be watching by yourself? If no, then…No! Stay home!

Can I watch CMEpalooza at home with my kids?
I don’t know. Let’s ask them.

Yeah, maybe not.

Do I have to pre-register or register?
Nope.

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza? 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 come to your house, stand outside your bedroom window (at least 50 feet away, to be safe and all), and recreate the John Cusack boombox scene from Say Anything.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza?
Actually, yes. Well, kind of. We’re not accredited or certified or anything like that, and we 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 2020, here you go. I’ll also post it on the LIVE page tomorrow. Who knows, maybe these certificates will be worth something 2,000 years from now.

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

  1. Send a text to the Peer Audience text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
  2. Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag

We try to get to as many questions as we can throughout each presentation.

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

Will the sound quality for each presenter be crystal clear with consistent volume and no glitches?
No. Will it be pretty good for most presenters? Yes. There will be some who sound better than others. There may be a few glitches and hiccups. That’s just how it goes with a free conference where presenters volunteer their time and use their own equipment. Some people aren’t comfortable doing a presentation while wearing headphones and a mic, so we don’t force them to use it. We do the best that we can with what we have available to us.

Will I be offended by anything during CMEpalooza?
Are you offended by Sam Spade-esque, gumshoe detective, film noir satire that includes words like “dame” and “yokel”? If yes, then I suggest avoiding the Jake Powers session at 3 p.m. ET. It’s OK, really, you don’t have to watch it. Go grab a coffee and snack and come back for the 4 p.m. session. We’ll still be here.

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 each session. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a co-worker who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here she is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.

 

It’s CMEpalooza Week! Here’s What You Need to Know

In so many, many ways, it’s been a month like no other. We’ve had to change pretty much every routine in our lives in a manner that would have seemed unfathomable even weeks ago. I find myself zigzagging around the neighborhood like I’m coming off a 2-week bender as I try to avoid getting too close to anyone. I voluntarily took on an art project this weekend to make a mask out of an old t-shirt. Yes, me, the guy who jokes he was the first person to get a “G” in high school art class because I am about as crafty as, err, someone who is not at all crafty. My DIY mask looks like crap, but it works (sort of).

Yet with all the chaos in our lives, CMEpalooza is perhaps the lone “normal” thing left for some of us. It’s nothing more than dumb luck that we were already a virtual meeting and we already had faculty who could participate from just about anywhere before our world came crashing down. Our faculty had all committed to our Spring agenda before the worst of the Covid-19 crisis hit, and they’ve fortunately all stayed with us (thanks to all of them). It’s almost been business as usual across the board.

I know it’s been a bit of a personal salvation to be able to turn to the blog and lean on our panelists, sponsors, and other friends when things get a bit too heavy, to be able to turn to CMEpalooza to help breathe and calm myself down a bit. We hope that we’ve brought a smile and sense of calm to your lives, at least a little, in this past month and that our Spring broadcast from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET this Wednesday, April 15, will help you feel a little bit normal again too.

We’ll have some more specifics coming up in the next 2 days to help you navigate through things, but here are a few tips to help you settle in to join us on Wednesday:

  1. If you haven’t done so already check out the full Spring agenda. Yes, you’ll be hearing a good deal throughout the day about how Covid-19 is impacting our industry and will continue to do so in the near future, but we also have some sessions planned where you may not hear much about it at all. I think we can all agree that sometimes we just need a break from all the talk about the current health pandemic to focus on other things that are going on in the world.
  2. There is no pre-registration or forms to fill out to watch any of our sessions. Just go to LIVE tab to tune in. It’s all free, as it always has been. Maybe you’ve got a fancy office setting like Derek with a TV and a Roku Stick so you can beam our sessions on the big screen while you “work.” That’d be pretty cool.
  3. If you miss any of our sessions, fear not. They land in the Archives pretty quick (like, within an hour).
  4. We’ll be using Poll Everywhere for several of our sessions to bring some interactivity to our panels. You’ll be able to participate either on your laptop/desktop through their website (www.polleverywhere.com) or on your tablet/phone through their app (you can download it here). The meeting code this Spring is cmepalooza000 (we’ll remind you on Wednesday).
  5. We’ve got a few new features we’ll be introducing this year. I am personally giddy with anticipation for the debut of CMEpalooza Stretch. I won’t tell you when it’s happening. Just know that Derek is really, really excited about it too (Note from Derek: I am…less excited about it than Scott.)
  6. If you have a few minutes and want to check out the “best of the best” in CME, poke through the work our Sponsors have been doing. Crises often beget innovation, and I’m proud to see some of the education our community has been able to share in recent weeks to the knowledge-starved medical community and general public.
  7. Make sure you have plenty of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, construction paper, papier mache, and paper airplanes lying around. Because, you know, the paper product line is going to be the first thing to go in time of national emergency. I really don’t get this one.

Oops, I Haiku’ed Again – It’s CMEpalooza Haiku!

palooza haiku
oopsie i did it again
scott’s favorite post

coming up next week
cmepalooza spring
thank god it’s online

9 AM ET – How Should the CE Industry Respond to a Novel Healthcare Crisis?

coronavirus
health crises of our lifetime
how can we respond?

10 AM ET – We Can Do It! Getting Change-Ready Ahead of the ACCME’s Updates to the Standards for Commercial Support

SCS updates
can we can do it!? (yes we can)
people get ready

11 AM ET – Shiny Outcomes People

tiny little homes
and they all look just the same
sound like your outcomes?

Noon ET – The Intersection Between Information, Knowledge, and Practice

sometimes to adapt
slow and steady wins the race
good for us old folks

1 PM ET – Rebuilding It Better? Stronger? Faster? Moving Innovation Forward in CE Redesign

rebuild CE like
the six million dollar man
just hire lee majors

2 PM ET – Grant Request Rock!

conjunction junction
how do grant requests function?
these guys will tell you

3 PM ET – Jake Powers, CME Detective, Episode 2: Certification at Elevation – The Mile High Mysteries

hardboiled CE
and a slug of cheap whiskey
jake powers is back

4 PM ET – Common/Not-So-Common Case Conundrums in CME

common conundrum
would be so very humdrum
when does the fun come?

Sponsors

three precious metals
but if you want a haiku
it’s gold or silver

Gold

haiku can be hard
when you don’t know how to say
Daiichi-Sankyo

they can’t stay away
Academic CME
back for a third time

oh phil talamo
president of PER
cool video bro

Silver

it’s PeerAudience
but a group of seaside fans
is PierAudience

why did we combine
CCO and PCE?
it’s a partnership

the best name for a
medical themed escape room?
a Medscape room duh

CMEpalooza Company Spotlight – Today at 11 a.m. ET

Don’t forget that we’ll be hosting a special, live CMEpalooza Company Spotlight broadcast this morning from 11-11:30 a.m. ET. Joining me will be three of the wise men from Educational Measures to talk about the challenges of the live, virtual conference.

To view this free broadcast, just go to our LIVE tab – we’ll start the broadcast right at the top of the hour. No need to register or fill out anything beforehand. Just drop in and listen. We’ll even take questions as we go along.

And hey, if your organization likes this concept and wants to work with us to develop a broadcast of your own, just shoot me an email. We’re happy to keep this going beyond our CMEpalooza Spring broadcast next week.