Choose Your Own (Alliance) Adventure – 2020

Well, another Alliance annual conference is upon us, though a bit earlier this year. I’m still slogging my way through all the email that built up over the holidays, just in time to leave for a few more days and get even more email. The solution to this problem is obvious: ban email. Who’s with me??

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 San Francisco, 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 2019, and there are now over 100(!) 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 explaining why Hot Wheels are superior to Matchbox cars.)

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 (I recommend a Manhattan with Bulleit Rye) 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.

6:00 a.m. (everyone else): 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 breakfast sandwich and mocha anyway. Pat yourself on the back for getting your bacon, egg, and cheese on a whole grain bagel.

9:00 a.m. Keynote: Back to the Future (of CME)
What better way to kick off your conference than with a look back at the future of CME?

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. I’m busy, remember.

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: Can You Define and Articulate the Value of Your Education?
Dwindling budgets, inconsistent results, lack of organizational support for IME, lack of standardized reporting, lack of consistent operational definitions for learners, and many, many more… these represent a few of the many reasons why deciding which grant to support is becoming ever more critical for our IME stakeholders. A “failed” educational program is not a luxury most supporters can afford. Through interactive panel discussions, members of the MEC and IME communities discuss best practices,take viewer questions, and hear examples on the following topics:

  1. Can we define value as a return on educational investment? (NOT ROI)
  2. Beyond pre/post, how can providers better define educational outcomes in terms of the value of the education to the patient, the clinician learners, the provider, and the supporter?
  3. How can IME build a better story that demonstrates the value of educational investments by extracting outcomes data from a myriad of reporting styles?
  4. Building a better grant – how can providers help IME committees see the potential value of the education through the grant request?
  5. For IME, what elements should committees look for in a grant request that reduce risk, and which are red flags?
  6. How can supporters share return on educational investment with their respective internal teams (medical affairs, commercial, etc.)?
  7. When is the appropriate time to report outcomes?

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: Nobody Puts Outcomes in the Corner
It’s been more than 10 years since Don Moore’s pivotal article on outcomes levels was released, revolutionizing the CME industry’s thinking and approach to outcomes. But has Moore put us in a corner? Rather than being creative with our approach to measuring outcomes, we are stuck in a pyramid of levels that pushes us to try to collect and analyze data that might not be ideal for all educational interventions. This session will include representatives from pharma, medical education companies, and academia as they discuss the hot topic of Level 5 outcomes and if and where it fits into education.

The session will begin with a focus on aligning the outcomes measure to meet the identified gaps and goals of the program along with the preferences of the commercial supporter, as well as share barriers and problems with standard performance-level outcomes. The second half of the session will focus on the importance of reporting to stakeholder and what elements of outcomes (Moore’s, TELMS, others) are of most value to whom. Members of the panel will use case studies and experience to describe creative solutions to assessing performance change.

Break: Click over to the Exhibit Hall (ie, Sponsor page) and gaze in amazement around the companies who have signed up for CMEpalooza Spring 2020 so far (“Geez, I wonder how we could be like them”). 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 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: Jake Powers, CME Detective – Accreditation with Complications
The cigarette smoke rises slowly. The bourbon goes down easily. A dame raps incessantly on my door. She has a problem. A CME problem, of course. That’s why people come to me. They have problems and I fix them. I’m Jake Powers, the world’s only CME Detective.

The gritty underbelly of continuing medical education awaits me, where shadowy corners hide compliance issues and guidelines are always just around the corner. Care to join me? You sure you can handle it? Ready to solve some CME mysteries?

Yes? Good. Then take a shot of courage and grab your fedora and trench coat. We’ve got work to do. The CME industry needs us.

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 2 hours, everyone will have left for the lobby bar at the nearest hotel.

 

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