Some Ends and Odds

A few things to update you on:

1. There have been a few additions and adjustments to our Spring agenda. Most notably, you’ll see our Thursday lunch session sponsored by ACHL now has a title, full description, and faculty. It’ll be a unique session focused on the CME implications of the rise in legalization of medical marijuana across the United States. Both the president and CEO of the ACCME, Graham McMahon, as well the president of the ACEHP, Steven Kawczak, are confirmed as panelists. Should be interesting. And, of course, I couldn’t resist a few wisecracks based on the session topic (ie, “Let’s change the start of the session to 4:20” and “Gives a new meaning to the term ‘joint provider'”). Feel free to come up with one of your own in the Comments section below this post.

2. You have less than a week to submit your entry for CMEpalooza Pursuit. We’ve got $500 in Amazon gift cards to give away, but like anything else, you can’t win if you don’t participate. All of the information you need to play can be found in our recent post.

3. I had the “pleasure” of sitting next to Derek at a recent Philadelphia 76ers game. The dude is the most pessimistic “fan” I have ever met. The opposing team scored the first basket of the game and he grabbed his coat and was ready to leave. He wasn’t even kidding. As usual, I ignored him and he sat back down, only to moan and groan the remainder of the evening. The 76ers have lost only one home game since the start of the new year – I’ll let you guess which night that occurred on.

Happy spring everyone. The snow will melt eventually. I hope.

CMEpalooza Pursuit: Trivia Ahead of Its Time

Trivia is trendy these days.

It seems like I get a text every month from a friend inviting me to sign up for one of the numerous live trivia games you can now play on your phone. Far as I can tell, the concept behind them all is similar – you answer a series of trivia questions of varying difficulty (ranging from “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” to “Who was the undertaker who dug the hole for Grant’s Tomb?”) in a certain amount of time and then, if you get them all right, you win a nominal amount of money. I occasionally play some of these games with limited success – it’s apparently a great time suck in many offices around the world.

As usual, our intern wizards were ahead of the curve when they suggested we develop a trivia-based CMEpalooza sponsor event several years ago. Just like today’s trendy copycats — lawsuits are pending — you are presented with a variety of questions related to the brilliant companies who sponsor CMEpalooza and then, when you answer them all correctly, you win money. Lots and lots of money (for reals, yo).

Today, we are proud to launch our Spring sponsor event, CMEpalooza Pursuit. As the name suggests, this is an adaptation of everyone’s pie-filled favorite, Trivial Pursuit. This year, we have divided questions into 7 categories – the 6 original game categories as well as an extra Potpourri category. With 20 sponsors of our Spring event, there were simply too many to try to jam in to the traditional boxes. Plus, extra learning for you!

Here is how CMEpalooza Pursuit works:

  1. Click here to download the list of questions
  2. Click here to download the entry form
  3. Use the Sponsor tab of the CMEpalooza website to get links to all of the companies involved in this event. You’ll need to visit the Sponsor sites to get the answers to all of our questions. We promise there is nothing that can’t be found within a click or two.
  4. Complete the entry form by coming up with a correct response to one question in each category. That’s seven questions/answers in all. Now, we have had some brown nosers who have tried in the past to answer more than the required amount of questions, which is fine. It just won’t help you win.
  5. Send your completed entry form to me via email at scott@medcasewriter.com by 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 4.
  6. Cross your fingers.

We’ll be giving away $500 in Amazon gift cards this Spring – there will be 8 winners of $25, 4 winners of $50, and 1 grand prize winner of $100. Unlike some of the more mainstream trivia apps, there aren’t thousands of people expected to complete CMEpalooza Pursuit. If you play, your chances are reasonably good of winning a prize (no promises though).

And…go.

We’ve Got an Agenda!

The development process for CMEpalooza Spring goes through more changes than Derek’s demeanor (yes, it looks like a perpetual “I am totally checked out of life,” but there are subtle nuances). One year, we invite abstracts from the public. The next year, we don’t. One year, we have our adoring tolerating public vote for their favorite abstracts. The next year, we use a double-secret process that involves votive candles and a Ouija board. I’m one of the people who decides these annual changes, and it’s becoming hard for even me to keep track of.

One thing, fortunately, that has not changed is the overall quality of our education. Thanks to the creative folks in the CME community, we have consistently been able to provide innovative education — FOR FREE — to our adoring tolerating audience.

And so, once again, we proudly present the agenda for another iteration of CMEpalooza Spring. You may notice that this year’s agenda is split into two days (we announced how that will work several weeks ago). You may notice that a few items are TBA (but not many). You may notice that there are sessions that focus on a variety of aspects of CME planning, development, and measurement (we did that on purpose).

In the end, though, all we really hope is that you notice how you can’t possibly miss a single session of CMEpalooza Spring and set yourself up for a “long lunch” on Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26. You’ll still have time to work before and after our sessions. Just not a lot.

Quick aside: Derek came home from a weekend jaunt with the family to find his Internet connection was down (“because of squirrels or something stupid like that”). Who wants to bet that “something stupid like that” is that he didn’t realize that dial-up connections are no longer being supported by his service provider? And yes, that annoying sound of your dial-up Internet successfully connecting will be ping ponging in your brain for a while. [Note from Derek: Fake news. Per the Verizon guy working on the line, a squirrel was definitely the culprit. This may come as a shock to some of you, but after being told last night that the line would be fixed “in a couple hours,” it is still not fixed this morning. Does anyone have an extra AOL startup CD laying around?]

Embrace the Uncomfortable

I hate cliches.

I mean, really, who goes around killing birds with stones?

I can’t remember the last time I was at the library and didn’t explicitly judge a book based upon its cover.

My son spilled a glass of milk at dinner just last night – did any of us cry over it? Of course not. We’re not idiots.

You get the idea (although I did avoid Derek like the plague last week since he was convinced he had contracted it).

Anyway, back to the point of this story.

You all know the tired cliche, “Try everything once,” right? Or maybe you are more of a “Do something that scares you” kind of person. Doesn’t matter, because this is one sentiment that I want to explore a bit more today as it’s one I try to remember as I sashay through life.

OK, yes, perhaps it wasn’t the brightest idea when I decided to drink a glass of raw eggs a la Rocky Balboa when I was a teenager (didn’t get sick, felt fine).

And it’s true, perhaps little 10-year-old Derek would have been better off not telling his friends, family, and everyone in the surrounding area that he wrote a 15-page love letter to the girl/robot star of Small Wonder (today’s fun fact: she’s apparently now a nurse in Colorado. Derek asks that you let him know if she is ever a faculty member for your educational initiative).

But the point is that we were both conquering our fears and trying something new and uncomfortable (and perhaps stupid). I understand that, for many of you, when we put out the call for submissions for CMEpalooza Spring, you were scared. “No way I am going to talk in public. Uh uh, never, never, never. Besides, who cares what I have to say anyway?”

In reality, though, CMEpalooza is the perfect venue to allow you to overcome your fear of public speaking. You don’t have to picture anyone in the audience naked (let’s face it, the CME crowd ain’t exactly overflowing with Adonises and Aphrodites). You get to choose your surroundings, whether it your home, office, or favorite quiet nook in your local coffee shop. It will be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

You’ve only got a few more days to come up with a brilliant idea, recruit a colleague or two to join your presentation team, and then tell us all about what you have planned (submission deadline is this Friday)? What’s the worst that could happen? Whatever it is, it can’t be as bad as this.

So whaddya say? Let’s give it shot, OK sport? Click here for all the information you need to make your dreams come true.

CMEpalooza 2018: Sponsorships for Money, Education for Free

As even casual fans of the CMEpalooza blog know, Derek and I are big fans of ‘80s nostalgia.

If you need someone to tell you the name of the actor who starred alongside Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science, Derek’s your guy (it’s Ilan Mitchell Smith). If you can’t remember the name of the 49ers receiver who started that team’s ‘80s dynasty with The Catch, I can help (it was Dwight Clark). And if you keep scratching your head trying to figure out just how many licks it takes to get the center of that Tootsie Roll Pop, well, that we can’t help you with (Derek has gotten to 4, so at least he beat that wise owl).

Yet as much as we love remembering the decade of our formative childhood, what we enjoy even more is coming up with new ways to make CMEpalooza valuable to our audience and our sponsors. In response to feedback from our audience, we’ll be making a few tweaks to the way we develop and present our Spring and Fall events in 2018 – you may have seen our recent post announcing that CMEpalooza Spring is being split into 2, half-day broadcasts instead of the previous full-day marathon – that we hope will help us continue to grow.

Our growth, of course, translates into improved visibility for our sponsors. In the 4 years since CMEpalooza began, more than 50 organizations have wisely chosen to align themselves with us and support all of the top-notch education that we provide the CME community.

CMEpalooza sponsorships start at the low, low price of $600. As usual, there are a few new things we’re offering our sponsors this year (gotta love the free add-ons). You can check out everything we have thought up in our Sponsor Prospectus – and we’re open to other creative suggestions (we say that every year, but you can still be the first ever to take us up on it).

We make the sponsorship process as easy as possible. You send us an email saying, “CMEpalooza is the best thing since New Coke. Of course we want to be a sponsor,” we collect some basic information from you, and PRESTO! up you go on the CMEpalooza Sponsor page. You get in on all of our promotions and special events, and as much exposure as we can possibly offer.

If you want some hard numbers on our events, you check out the CMEpalooza “By the Numbers” page within this prospectus. We crunch data throughout the year and have pulled out some of the most impressive numbers here, but we can give you whatever else you may need. Just ask.

Still not sure? Maybe a few testimonials will convince you. Such as these, for instance, courtesy of the Way Back Machine:

  • (Speaking really fast) “CMEpalooza is doing it again. Yes that’s right, doing it again with the lowest sponsorship prices under the sun. We’ve got bronze sponsorships, silver sponsorships, and, whoa, whoa, whoa, even 2 gold sponsorships ripe for the pickings. But don’t take your time and dawdle because the lines are already forming at our doors right now. I’m Crazy Derek, and if you don’t sign up for a CMEpalooza sponsorship tooo-day, you must be INSANE…”
  • (Speaking really slowly, perhaps from a porch swing) “Hello. There are many ways to calculate the value of a CMEpalooza sponsorship. Mabel from Decatur, Georgia says that she has decorated the walls of her kitchen with the hundreds of ways she has thought up. We’d suggest just one – driving attention and traffic to the great work your company does. We hope you take this suggestion to heart… and thank you for your support.”
  • (With a banging drum in the background) “For years, you’ve heard other CME-focused meetings claim that spending money on an exhibit booth or exclusive sponsorship at their event is the best investment any company involved in our industry can make, so you may have assumed that their sponsorship has more value than a sponsorship of CMEpalooza. Fact is, CMEpalooza wasn’t even included in their analysis. And we won’t be included next year either. Why? Because they know they can’t match our reach, our value, and our wit. CMEpalooza… it keeps growing and growing and growing…”

Maybe you have another question or concern we haven’t thought of. Just email us (that’s thecmeguy@gmail.com for Derek and scott@medcasewriter.com for me) – we promise we’ll respond to you quickly, like within 10 minutes or so (note from Derek: I’m gonna be 100% honest with you…if you email me, I probably won’t respond within 10 minutes. As hard as this may be to believe, I do have other things that I do during the day besides sit around waiting for CMEpalooza email. Quite a few things, actually. I do promise to respond to you as soon as I can, though.)

Derek and I will both be down in Orlando at the ACEHP meeting later this month, too, in case you want to chat, even if it has nothing to do with CMEpalooza sponsorship. For instance, you can ask Derek about the time he asked Tina Yothers to marry him. Or the time he plastered a Tiffany poster to his bedroom door. Or the time he begged his parents for weeks to let him take breakdancing lessons. Or something else just as embarrassing – be creative!

We’ll leave the light on for you.

Ch..ch..changes

A few weeks ago, Derek posted a short poll based upon a conversation our team had during its Winter Retreat in Aruba. The poll essentially involved one key question – “Should we split CMEpalooza in half?” Essentially, do we mess with our usual formula of a full-day event to better serve our audience?

Knowing how much people generally like change (sarcastic rolling of the eyes), I predicted that “Keep CMEpalooza the way it is” would be a runaway winner.

Boy was I wrong. Overwhelmingly (like, 90%+ overwhelmingly), our audience expressed a preference for 2 half-day Paloozas. Some people even suggested separating half-day broadcasts a week or a month apart. One person even asked us to have a single, 1-hour broadcast each month. Logistically, those kinds of extreme ideas would have been too taxing for our crew to pull off, but nonetheless, we are prepared to listen to our audience and make adjustments.

And so, for the first time since the inaugural CMEpalooza in the spring of 2015, we’ll be offering a CMEpalooza as a two-day event this spring. It will be on Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26. We’re still working out some of the details (do we do the same times each day or do we make some modifications so that we may better fit everyone’s schedule?), but once we get everything hammered down, we’ll let you know. If it goes well this spring, we’ll consider keeping the format for the fall and beyond.

In the meantime, be prepared to hear about a lot of the other new features we’ll be adding to CMEpalooza this year  in the coming weeks. The blog will be pretty active for a little while as we start rolling out some of our new stuff. It’s all good, I promise.

Oh, and Happy New Year.

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?

Signed,

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!

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?!?!