Which Is the Better Palooza: One Full-Day or Two Half-Days?

We had a major CMEpalooza planning session last week with the entire CMEpalooza staff. It was really quite the event; we flew everyone down to a private resort in Aruba for the weekend, set-up one of those giant tents on the beach, and made everyone brainstorm new ideas for 12 hours straight until letting them out to play in the water. Then we capped it all off by convincing the remaining members of Led Zeppelin to finally reunite for one last concert to close out the weekend (things got a little out of control when Scott stormed the stage and demanded they play Smoke on the Water. He calmed down a bit after I reminded him that that was a Deep Purple song, but by then Robert Plant had already slammed down his bottle of Evian and stalked indignantly offstage, bringing the concert to an abrupt end. At least they played Kashmir.)

One of the ideas that we bandied about was the possibility of transitioning each CMEpalooza from a full-day event to half-day events (held on consecutive days). The reason for this is that audience participation/attendance for CMEpalooza always falls off after lunch. Every single time. We could have a 10 a.m. session called, “Watch Derek Brush His Teeth” and a 3 p.m. session called, “Watch Scott Play Quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles” and my toothbrush would undoubtedly become quite famous.

Why do we have this drop-off? It’s hard to say for sure. Maybe people are busy and have work to do (it’s possible.) Maybe people are worn out from all the amazing learning and their brains are tired (doubtful.) Maybe people can only handle staring at Scott’s and my face on their screens for a maximum of four hours a day (that’s the one!)

Whatever the reason, we thought that maybe people would get even more out of CMEpalooza if we broke it up a little more. Let’s say 3-4 hours of sessions one morning, finish up by 1 pm ET, and then 3-4 hours of sessions the next morning. Is that better?

No, I’m really asking — is that better? Let’s do a quick poll. Let us know which format you prefer.

If you have strong feeling one way or the other that extend beyond just selecting one of the poll choices, feel free to share them in the comments below. Thanks for your help!

Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who?

We really want to know! So, if you tuned in to any of the CMEpalooza Fall sessions last Wednesday and haven’t already done so (47 of your have), please take our survey. Here’s the link to it: https://goo.gl/forms/y2QURWbtgIpS28513

We do actually read through the survey and comments, and use the information to (try to) make CMEpalooza better. Especially helpful are the suggestions provided for topics of interest for future sessions, which we quite frequently use to help shape the next agenda. From the responses we have received so far, a session on the new ACCME criteria and a CME Basics course have been cited the most frequently. If you have other suggestions, let us know!

(Scott sometimes accuses me of making obscure references that no one else understands. We all know the title and first line of this post are from the 1978 song Who Are You? by The Who, right? This is a pretty obvious one. Please don’t email and tell me you thought it was from the opening theme song for C.S.I…)

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Fall?

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

Will people be able to hear me on the Hangout?
No. You are not on the Hangout. You are only watching a video feed of the Hangout. You can play the air horn version of Take On Me by 80’s legends a-ha at top 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 the air horn version of Take On Me by 80’s legends a-ha at top volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall at the office?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall at home?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall in a conference room with 150 other people?
Please do.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall while at a Boston Celtics game? 
ugh…no yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Fall with Homer Simpson?
I don’t know. Let’s ask him.

I guess not. The important thing is that you tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: Never try.

Do I have to pre-register or register?

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza Fall? 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 and sing the score from the H.M.S. Pinafore.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza Fall?
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 Fall 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 CMEpalooza 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.

Whetting Your Appetite for CMEpalooza Fall

We’re closing in on the start of CMEpalooza Fall (Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. ET – that’s tomorrow people!), so to help whet your appetite, here are a few session-specific items for you to read through as you prepare to watch:

Common/Not-So-Common Case Conundrums in CME — Our kickoff session sponsored by Global Academy for Medical Education will focus on two complex case studies, one to be discussed by our team of medical education and communications company (MECC) professionals and the other by our team of academic/hospital-based professionals. As promised, we’re giving you a chance to read through the cases in advance and perhaps think about how you would address the issues that they raise. Case 1 can be accessed by clicking here. Case 2 can be accessed by clicking here.

Grant Review Mythbusters — Two examples of grantor “myths” that will be addressed in our 11 a.m. ET session sponsored by Forefront Collaborative:

Myth 1: A provider’s grant will get more attention as an unsolicited submission rather than a response to a RFP since an RFP generates so many responses.

Myth 2: A high percentage of submitted grants are eliminated through a screening or other vetting process and never make it to committee.

Chatting With Graham McMahon — Our 1 p.m. “Dessert Session” with ACCME President and CEO Graham McMahon sponsored by Prova Education will tackle a whole host of questions that were submitted by the CMEpalooza community. Among them:

Do you think that the new accreditation criteria will result in fewer providers achieving accreditation with commendation? What are your plans to provide learning resources for providers who may think that achieving accreditation with commendation as too difficult to attempt in the future?

When people say that CME is thinly disguised promotional education, or that there is little evidence that CME actually changes behavior, what are your ‘floor ’em’ responses?

The CME Advice Columnists – We’re apparently a community that needs a lot of expert advice. Who knew? Here is an example of one of the “letters” that our panel will be addressing tomorrow during our 2 p.m. ET session sponsored by Integrity CE:

Dear CMEpalooza Advice Columnists,

A high school friend of mine recently helped me get a job at the small hospital she works at in the suburbs. One of my responsibilities is to serve as our CME Coordinator. The only problem is that I know nothing about CME (my friend told me before I took the job that I’d “figure it out”), and I’m too embarrassed to ask any of the doctors here for help or advice.

How can I learn what I need to know without anyone finding out about it?


A Beginner’s Beginner

Is your appetite whet yet? Would you even know if it was? What does that phrase even mean anyway?

Regardless, these are just a few tidbits related to a few of our CMEpalooza Fall sessions. If you need a last-minute check of the Agenda to decide when you might want to confirm a “meeting” or two, please do take a look (I recommend blocking off the whole day, but I know that that might not be realistic for everyone).

It’s CMEpalooza Week!

Not that I really think we need to remind you again, but it is indeed CMEpalooza Week (officially recognized as such in 4 U.S. states and 2 territories). We’ve got a bunch of stuff coming your way here in the 48 hours before we officially kick things off, so consider this as your Monday morning primer. Here is what to expect:

  • Obviously and most importantly, the live, free broadcast of CMEpalooza Fall will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday. You can watch all of the sessions on our Live page. If you want to refresh your memory regarding our sessions, just go to our Fall Agenda page. We hope that you have blocked off your calendar with “meetings” or are working on a “family emergency” for Wednesday. You’ll thank us later.
  • We’ll be posting the two case studies that will be discussed in our 10 a.m. ET kickoff session, Common/Not-So-Common Case Conundrums in CME (sponsored by Global Academy for Medical Education) on Tuesday morning so you can read through and think about them in advance. You may even get one of the “letters” that will be addressed by our Dear Abby crew of CME Advice Columnists at 2 p.m. ET if you are nice.
  • Derek will tell you on Tuesday all that you need to know about watching the live broadcast. It’s really, really easy. He’ll also explain all the ways in which you can ask questions during every session. We hope that you’ll take the opportunity to (anonymously) participate – our best sessions are the ones where we get people to chime in.
  • Our social media feeds will be busy with last-minute items, including reminders to visit our Sponsor page to check out all of those brilliant organizations who have aligned themselves with CMEpalooza, as well as some snarky memes that we find while trolling the Interwebs.
  • One last thing: For those of you who are wondering, no, it’s not a coincidence that CMEpalooza Fall coincides with the opening tip of the Philadelphia 76ers season. Derek has already told me not to bother him until at least mid-January once the season begins. Gladly, my friend, gladly. (note from Derek: “TRUST THE PROCESS!”)

Have a good week everyone, and we’ll “see” you all soon!

CMEpalooza Bingo!! prize drawing winners

We held our prize drawing for CMEpalooza Bingo!! this morning. It was quite the event – you may have seen it on your local news channel. We hired the legendary Wink Martindale to be our Master of Ceremonies and brought in one of those giant wire barrels to spin around with all of our winning entries.

It was drizzling outside a bit, but I still estimate we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 attendees for the event – certainly way way more than any other promotional drawing that has ever been held in the United States in the last 100 years. I won’t believe any photos you may have that prove otherwise.

Anyway, here are our winners:

GRAND PRIZE ($100 Amazon gift card)

  • Ellen F. Simes, Simes Consulting

SECOND PRIZES ($50 Amazon gift cards)

  • Karin Pearson, Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Amanda Glazar, Kynectiv
  • Sara Brykalski, ACHL
  • Lindsey Schneider, Minnesota Medical Association

THIRD PRIZES ($25 Amazon gift cards)

  • Sandy Mardant, A.D.A.M.
  • Betty Riggs, PharmApprise Consulting
  • Bonnie J. Bixler, Penn State College of Medicine
  • Melissa Hicks, Patient Advocate
  • Danielle DuFour, Bellin Health Systems, Inc.
  • Joanne Wise, University at Albany School of Public Health
  • Kristi J. English, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Stacy A. Snyder, Penn State College of Medicine

For anyone who may be interested in all of the answers to our game board, you can find them by clicking on this link. Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Often Imitated, Never Duplicated, It’s CMEpalooza Haiku

It’s everyone’s some readers’ Scott’s my favorite post before every CMEpalooza, when I go through the agenda and summarize every session with a terrible haiku. It’s brilliant! Let me tell you, the millennials love haiku. We’re on the cutting edge as always here at CMEpalooza HQ. But enough chitchat — to the haiku!


palooza haiku
summary of a great day
october eighteen


10 AM ET – Common/Not-So-Common Case Conundrums in CME

back for an encore
some case conundrums are fun
some are just humdrum


11 AM ET – Grant Review MythBusters

grant review intrigue
(myth)bustin’ makes me feel good
ray parker agrees


Noon ET – From Activation to Evolution: What CME Can Learn from the Trump Campaign, Uber Scandal, and Amazon

learn from trump campaign?
surely this must be fake news
tune in to find out


1 PM ET – Chatting With Graham McMahon

a man with a plan
his name is graham mcmahon
chatting with lawrence


2 PM ET – The CME Advice Columnists

looking for advice?
let these cme pros help
it’s not dear abby


3 PM ET – Outcomes: A Study in Three Acts

study design and
data collection on stage
three acts/three pm

4 PM ET – Building a Better Grant Request

build a better grant
and the world will beat a path
to your office door

Last Call for CMEpalooza Bingo!!

Quick reminder that the entry window for CMEpalooza Bingo!! closes tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3:45 p.m. Here is a link to the various forms you will need to play. It’s 5 minutes (at most) and it’s free money – what more do you want?

Here is what others have said about CMEpalooza Bingo!! so far this year:

“It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on. It’s probably pretty fun with your clothes off too, but I didn’t try that since I’m at work and all. Maybe next year.”

“I had no idea of all of the interesting work the CMEpalooza Fall sponsors are doing. They truly are the best of the best.”

“We turned this into a huge family gathering. Me, my husband, my 3 kids, my mother-in-law, my aunt Sally, and our pet Felix cat all sat down and played CMEpalooza Bingo!! for hours. We couldn’t get enough. Thanks Scott and Derek!”

See, it’s not just me who wants you to play CMEpalooza Bingo!! The general public is basically begging you to let your hair down and have some fun. SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!

REMINDER: CMEpalooza Fall is October 2-…er…18!

My 10-year-old daughter Olivia is going to a new school this year, which requires her to get up an hour earlier than usual and take the train to Center City Philadelphia. She’s very bright, musically-gifted, cheerful, extroverted, and beautiful. In sum, she is exactly like her mother and doesn’t resemble me in any way. Except one: she would forget her head if it wasn’t attached to her neck.

On Tuesday morning, we got a tearful phone call from her because she had left her violin on the train. SEPTA (the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) does not have a particularly stellar reputation when it comes to customer service (or anything else, for that matter), but they do actually have a Lost & Found Department. By some small miracle, the violin ended up there undamaged. As I left the house to retrieve the wayward instrument — grumbling to myself that I was going to chain the violin to Olivia’s wrist — I stepped over a UPS package that had just been delivered, containing the bag of violin music that Olivia had left at her grandparents over the weekend. The week before, while we were at Back-to-School night at her school, she sent me a text asking if I could grab the Science folder she had left in her locker. The next day she forgot to go to choir during lunch. The week before she left her ID in her locker (or thought she did; it was later found under a pile of clothes on the floor of her room), her train pass in her coat (which she had left at school), and her water bottle on her desk. That she has not lost her glasses yet is nothing short of amazing.

Sadly, I am not much better. I am notorious for losing my wallet, keys, watch, pens, headphones, iPhone dongles, kids — pretty much anything that isn’t attached to my body. I lost so many watches in high school, my parents refused to buy me any more. At the Alliance conference in Grapevine, TX, I lost (and found) my briefcase three different times in one day. Coming home from a meeting in Alexandria, VA, I got on a train going in the wrong direction. A month later, I bought a train ticket for a return trip from NYC for the wrong day. I’m pathetic (note from Scott: can’t argue with that one).

Which brings us to the main point of today’s post: CMEpalooza Fall is on Wednesday, October 18, starting at 10 AM ET. This is your official reminder. Put it in your calendar. Set an alert. Write it on your hand in pen. Tell your spouse to remind you. Do whatever it is you need to do to remember. I was going to have Scott send me a telegram the day before as my reminder, but then he wrote a blog post that initially listed the wrong day for CMEpalooza (I fixed it before you saw it) and now I don’t trust him. Maybe I’ll have Olivia remind me instead. I hope you all are free on October 20th…