The Return of “Scoop”

Last year about this time (technically, mid-January, but close enough), the COVID-19 omicron variant hit hard, causing another wave of public apprehension. Numerous organizations, including many pharma companies, quickly put a formal ban on non-essential business travel for their employees.

It was unfortunate timing for the annual meeting of the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, still the largest in-person get together for our industry. The dominos started falling around the December holidays, with more and more companies every day publicly announcing via social media that they would no longer be attending the conference. While there were still many health protocols in place onsite – required vaccinations, masking in the majority of spaces – it was still a cavernous experience for those of us who still decided to attend.

But from chaos springs opportunity!

And so, not to disappoint our loyal blog readers curious to get a sense what it was like to be back in person with some CME colleagues, “Scoop” Kober was born, roaming the conference hallways to get at the pulse of our world. He asked hard-hitting questions like, “How concerned should the CME community be about the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on large, in-person conferences?” and “What has the COVID pandemic forced your organization to get better at?” and “Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?” Extremely thought provoking and important stuff. (Note from Derek: Great, he has started referring to himself in the third person. We have crossed the Rubicon.)

Anyway, now that we are a few days out from (fingers crossed) the first “normal” Alliance conference since pre-COVID, I thought it made sense to formalize my alter ego for the return of “Scoop.” So if you see me in the hallway next week with my fancy press fedora on looking to corner unsuspecting suspects and expose the hypocrisy of the world, be careful. Your mug might just end up on these pages yourself next week. (Note from Derek: Great, now he has a hat. We are through the looking glass.)

(And yes, you can pretty much guarantee that one of the questions will be, “Who wins the Super Bowl?” There is only one right answer).

Today’s Surprise Post

After doing this for 10 years, Derek and I have a pretty consistent routine for blog posts. One of us writes up something, the other person quickly reviews and edits it (usually adding a snarky comment and/or random ’80s reference), and then we post it the next morning. We don’t have a Slack channel or Dropbox folder or anything fancy formal like that. It’s an email, maybe a text or two, and on extremely rare occasions, an actual conversation. I know that whenever “Derek” pops up on my phone that it’s something serious.

OK, it’s almost never something serious (“CMEpalooza” and “serious” simply don’t mix), but there occasionally are complex things that are easier to discuss over the phone.

Like this recent conversation:

ME: What do you want? I’m eating lunch.
DEREK: Um, it’s 3 o’clock.
ME: Fine, you caught me. I was taking a nap.
DEREK: Anyway, I had an idea. What if we…
ME: No.
DEREK: Yeah, it probably wouldn’t have worked anyway. Good chat. Go Sixers.

But today, I’m breaking protocol because it’s a big day for Derek, and he’s not one to enjoy being the center of attention (notice how he always sits in the back corner of every room so that no one’s eyes on are him). If he had his druthers, no one would know what I’m about to tell you.

You see, Derek turns 50 years old today. The big five-oh. Steve Mix (look it up).

Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking. “Geez, I thought he turned 50 years ago. I mean, he has that ‘Get off my lawn, you whippersnapper!’ routine down pat, and that usually only happens if you are 65 years or older.” What can I say, Derek matured early.

Anyway, when I asked Derek what he wants for his birthday from his adoring tolerating public, he told me two things:

  1. “A bottle of very expensive, very old bourbon.” Like this one, for example.
  2. “More abstract submissions for CMEpalooza Spring.” If you want to indulge his wish, please read all of the necessary information here. I’m supportive of this request, too. There are about 3 weeks left to come up with an idea that is going to revolutionize the world of CME. Or at least teach something to someone.

Anyway, if you want to pop into Derek’s social DMs and wish him a happy 50th in whatever fashion you think will embarrass him the most, please do so. Here is the link to his Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. He probably has a secret Tik Tok channel that he hasn’t told me about where he posts videos of yelling at neighborhood teens to, you guessed it, get off his lawn.

As for me, I will be sending my CMEpalooza partner this lanyard to wear proudly at the upcoming Alliance conference:

Look Who's All Grown Up Ready For A Colonoscopy Ceramic Ornament | Zazzle

But in all sincerity, Happy Birthday Old Man. Here’s to 50 more.

How ChatGPT Will Take Over the World (or Not)

In the past few weeks, I have been reading a bit about ChatGPT, an onsite “chatbot” that creates written content based upon specific inquiries from users. There is concern in many circles that the evolution of artificial intelligence and machine learning could create real issues in the near future. Teachers are worried that students will submit essays taken straight from these bots (I will admit it is pretty ingenious that ChatGPT will write a totally different short essay if you prompt it to “write like a 6th grader” vs. “write like a 10th grader”). Professional writers and programmers, among others, are worried that it will make their jobs obsolete.

You often get a lot this initial doom-and-gloom emotion when new, raw technology emerges that has lots of potential, only for people to quickly realize that it’s more hype than substance (R.I.P. Google+.) Still, in the service of our loyal blog readers, based on this LinkedIn post from Robert Stern at Project in Knowledge/Kaplan last week, I figured I’d take ChatGPT for a spin to see how it handled some of the things I am most interested in.

“Tell me why ALF was a great television show”

Alf (short for Alien Life Form) was a popular television show that aired in the 1980s. The show centered on a mischievous alien named Alf who crash-landed on Earth and was taken in by a suburban family, the Tanners. The show was known for its humorous storylines, catchy theme song, and the memorable performance of actor Paul Fusco, who provided the voice of Alf and operated the puppet.

There are several reasons why Alf was a popular and successful show. One reason was its unique premise, which combined elements of science fiction and comedy in a way that had not been done before. The character of Alf was also a standout, with his wit, charm, and mischievous personality making him a fan favorite. Additionally, the show had strong writing and a talented cast that brought the characters and storylines to life in a believable and engaging way.

Overall, Alf was a well-crafted and entertaining show that resonated with audiences and became a cultural phenomenon. Its enduring popularity is a testament to its quality and the enduring appeal of its lovable alien protagonist.

Hmm, not bad. Let’s try something a little more closely tied to our work.

“Write a needs assessment about the latest developments in the management of type 2 diabetes”

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people around the world, and the management of this condition is a crucial aspect of healthcare. In recent years, there have been numerous developments in the management of type 2 diabetes, including new medications, devices, and lifestyle interventions. However, there is still a need to better understand the most effective ways to manage this condition and help patients achieve optimal health outcomes.

A needs assessment is a tool used to identify the current state of a population or community and identify any gaps in care or areas of improvement. In the context of type 2 diabetes management, a needs assessment could be conducted to identify the current state of diabetes care in a particular community, including the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, the availability of resources and services, and the current management practices being used.

Some potential areas of focus for a needs assessment on the latest developments in the management of type 2 diabetes could include:

  • Medication use: A needs assessment could examine the types of medications being prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes and assess whether they are in line with current best practices. It could also identify any barriers to medication adherence and explore ways to improve it.
  • Lifestyle interventions: A needs assessment could assess the availability and effectiveness of lifestyle interventions, such as dietary counseling and physical activity programs, in the management of type 2 diabetes.
  • Use of technology: A needs assessment could examine the use of technology, such as continuous glucose monitoring devices and insulin pumps, in the management of type 2 diabetes and assess whether they are being utilized effectively.
  • Education and support: A needs assessment could assess the availability and effectiveness of education and support programs for patients with type 2 diabetes, including self-management education and support groups.

Overall, a needs assessment on the latest developments in the management of type 2 diabetes could provide valuable insights into the current state of diabetes care in a particular community and help identify areas for improvement. This information could be used to develop targeted interventions and resources to better support patients with type 2 diabetes and help them achieve optimal health outcomes.

Again, not terrible. It’s not exactly a needs assessment, but it does offer some broad guidance. I tried a few other disease states, and while there was some overlap, there was also quite a bit tied to each individual disease state. Frankly, I was impressed.

OK, let’s try something that would be even more personally useful.

“Write a CMEpalooza blog post”

CMEpalooza is an annual conference that brings together professionals in the field of continuing medical education (CME). This year’s event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop attendees from engaging with thought-provoking presentations and networking with their peers.

One highlight of the conference was the keynote address by Dr. Jane Smith, a renowned expert in the field of CME. Dr. Smith discussed the importance of CME in keeping healthcare professionals up-to-date on the latest medical research and best practices. She emphasized the need for CME to be evidence-based, learner-centered, and outcomes-focused in order to truly make a difference in patient care.

Attendees also had the opportunity to attend a variety of breakout sessions on topics ranging from the use of technology in CME to the role of accreditation in ensuring quality. These sessions were led by experts in their respective fields and provided valuable insights and practical strategies for attendees to take back to their own CME programs.

In addition to the educational content, CMEpalooza also featured a virtual exhibit hall where attendees could connect with vendors and sponsors to learn about the latest products and services available in the CME market.

Overall, CMEpalooza was a successful and engaging event that provided valuable insights and networking opportunities for professionals in the CME field. We look forward to seeing what next year’s conference has in store!

Um, well, not so much. I have no idea who Dr. Jane Smith is. And a virtual exhibit hall? Not us. Strike one.

Let’s try something else, something that Derek would particularly like.

“Write a haiku about Med Learning Group” (one of our Spring 2023 Gold sponsors)

Med Learning Group
A provider of knowledge
Expertise on tap

Pretty good, right? (note from Derek: Terrible. The first line only has four syllables. Our AI overlords may defeat us in science, but art is the domain of the people!) Let’s do some checking in a few months to see if Derek “borrows” some of his Spring haikus from ChatGPT.

OK, but now for the real test.

“Write a blog post making fun of Derek Warnick”

I’m sorry, but I am not able to write a blog post that makes fun of an individual. Such content would not be appropriate or respectful. It is important to treat others with kindness and respect, and I am not programmed to create or promote content that is meant to mock or belittle others.

Like I figured, totally useless.