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.

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

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…

Last Chance to Submit Questions for Our “Chatting With Graham McMahon” Session

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Graham McMahon awaits your questions
Submit them in the form below

(What, you were expecting a poem? That’s not really my thing. Scott’s the poetry guy around here. He always has a haiku or sonnet at the ready. I’m more interested in you submitting your question for our Chatting With Graham McMahon session before the deadline closes at the end of today. Go do it now. The form is below.)

Call for Questions for Our “Chatting With Graham McMahon” Session

Do you have a burning question (or even a lukewarm question) you have always wanted to ask ACCME President and CEO Graham McMahon?

Do you have a laptop, mobile phone, or tablet?

Do you have access to the internet?

Well, today is your lucky day! For the next week, we are accepting questions for our Chatting With Graham McMahon session at CMEpalooza Fall, moderated by Lawrence Sherman, FACEHP, CHCP, Senior Vice President of Educational Strategy at TOPEC Global. Just fill out the form below and submit your question by the end of the day on Wednesday, September 13.

In typical CMEpalooza fashion, our goal is to keep the conversation lively and fun for everyone, so we’re not putting any restrictions on the types of questions you can ask. However, we do have limited time, so I can’t guarantee that your question will be asked, but we will do our best to tackle as many as possible.

The introvert in me has decided to make the name and organization fields optional. You don’t have to provide them if you’re not comfortable doing so, but it’s nice to know where a question is coming from. As always, thanks to all for participating!


BIG Archive Update

BIG update to the archive, guys. BIG BIG update. Yes, I’ve added all the sessions from CMEpalooza Spring 2017, but that’s not the BIG update. No, the BIG update is much bigger. Much much bigger.

Are you ready for it?

Maybe you should sit down first.

OK, here we go.

The BIG archive update is this: I added the presentation year after the name of each session so you would know how old it is.


Amazing, right??? No? Yeah, I know. It’s hard to make an archive sexy, if you know what I mean. We do have over 70 sessions in the archive now, so that’s pretty cool. And adding the year is helpful for people who…want…to know…the year. OK, it’s still not that great, but we have lots of free videos. Check it out sometime.



Whatever Happened to Johnny?

You guys remember Johnny? He lived deep down in Louisiana, close to New Orleans. Wa-a-ay back up in the woods, among the evergreens. Had himself a log cabin made of earth and wood. He never ever learned to read or write so well, but he could play a guitar just like a-ringing a bell. Remember that guy?

Little known fact about Johnny: He used to work on the docks. Then the union went on strike, he got down on his luck and it was tough. So tough. Last we heard, his girlfriend was dreaming of running away and Johnny was caught up in a vortex of self-defeating ennui, claiming that it didn’t make a difference if they made it or not. Things looked bleak.

So, who’s Johnny (she’s said. And smiled in her special way)?

He turned to a life in CME as an outcomes specialist, of course. We were a little late in adding a description to our Outcomes: A Study in Three Acts session, but that was only because the individuals involved in the session were busy tracking down Johnny and recording his life story. You can now read an overview of what they found on our agenda page. Be sure to join Jason Olivieri, Andrew Bowser, and Jamie Reiter at 3 p.m. ET on October 18 as they follow along with Johnny as he learns about study design, data collection, and analysis. At the end, we’ll all have some practical new tools for enhancing our outcomes practice.

Stranger Things, the Atari 2600, and a Quest for New Ideas

I have a confession to make: I’m a sucker for ‘80s nostalgia. I recently finished watching Netflix’s 8-episode ode to the ‘80s, Stranger Things, which quickly sucked me in with its bad fashion (garish sweaters paired with high-waisted, acid-washed jeans), synth-heavy soundtrack, and old school D&D role playing. It sort of has an ET meets The Goonies meets Stand By Me vibe to it. I dug it.

One of the most entertaining books I’ve read recently is Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, which is like manna to any child of the ‘80s. I particularly appreciated Cline intentionally going beyond the typical tropes of the time period and giving us more of an ‘80s deep dive. He didn’t just reference the Atari 2600 game console, but also ColecoVision and Intellivision. Not just Pac-Man, but Pitfall and Joust, too. I thought it was brilliant.

(Side note: lest you think I am an Atari 2600 snob, please note that when asked to consider the best Christmas gift I ever received, I continue to cite the Christmas of 1983 when my parents pulled the old Well-I-Guess-We-Have-Given-Out-All-The-Presents-Oh-Hey-What’s-This-Hidden-Behind-The-Sofa-Now-How-Did-That-Get-There trick, when what to my disbelieving eyes should appear but a brand new Atari 2600, complete with included games Combat and Action Pak, paddle controllers, and joysticks. It was an amazing moment and I still give my parents – now in their 70’s – kudos for pulling it off.)

(Second side note: Activision’s Pitfall was the greatest game ever on the Atari 2600 and if you disagree, I will fight you. The worst game? E.T. You can read about it here. Rumor has it that it was so horrible, they buried thousands of cartridges somewhere in New Mexico. It deserved an even worse fate.)

Recently, a friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook that showed a beautiful nature scene with a gurgling brook, radiant wildflowers, trees bursting with fall colors, a butterfly in mid-flight, and two towheaded little boys playing happily. The caption in white Arial font read: “They’ll never remember their best day watching TV.” I heartily disagreed as I absolutely remember my best day watching TV. I don’t remember the specific date – I’m guessing sometime in 1984 – but I do remember what I watched: Inspector Gadget, Charlie’s Angels (rerun), Magnum P.I., and Simon & Simon. This was a momentous occasion because generally I was only allowed to watch one hour of TV a day. Being allowed to watch 3 ½ hours straight blew my mind. Did it help that my mom was away and it was only me and my dad (who I’m pretty sure watched more TV after I went to bed) at home? That’s probably a safe bet.

(Now…where was I going with this…I had a point I was trying to make…hmmm…Scott and I are the modern day Rick and A.J. Simon of CME?…no, that’s not it…I should grow a mustache like Tom Selleck?…well, yes, of course, but I don’t think that was my point…oh, I remember…)

The trouble with nostalgia and reflecting too much on the past is that it keeps us stuck in a rut. We have fond memories of these periods in time, but we don’t really want to still be there. Does anyone miss leg warmers? Is anyone sad that we don’t still play Pong? Scott and I do our best to keep CMEpalooza fresh, but it can be a struggle to keep from doing the same topics, the same types of sessions, and repeating faculty. Don’t get me wrong; I think the agenda for CMEpalooza Fall is one of the best we have ever put together and I’m really excited for it. But every year, it gets a little harder to come up with new ideas.

So, I’m here to ask for your help. If you have an original idea for CMEpalooza, we would love to hear about it. It can be a topic, a new speaker, an idea for improving audience participation, a new format for a session, or a new form of poetry I should use instead of CMEpalooza Haiku (impossible!). Maybe you want to guest write a blog post. We’re interested in hearing about anything – the crazier the better (Scott probably disagrees with that part, but this is my blog post so I get to write what I want.)

No guarantees that we will use your idea, but if we do, we will let you know that we’re interested and ask if and how much you would like to be involved. Our email addresses are below for you to use to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Derek – theCMEguy@gmail.com

Scott – scott@medcasewriter.com