BREAKING: Derek WILL Be at CMEpalooza Tomorrow

Good news, folks! I received an email a few minutes ago notifying me that I have been excused from jury duty tomorrow and do not need to report to city hall. This is especially good news because I completely forgot that I had jury duty until I got this email:

You are probably thinking to yourself right now, wow, that’s super lucky that Derek got excused and what a crazy coincidence that he would have jury duty on the very day of CMEpalooza.

This is the part where I tell you that I actually had been originally scheduled for jury duty back in March and asked to have it moved. When they asked me what day, I looked at my calendar and marveled at how open my schedule was for April 17 and decided that would be a great day to have jury duty.

The lesson, as always, is that I am an idiot.

See you all tomorrow!

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza?
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 William Shatner’s spoken word version of Rocket Man at full 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 William Shatner’s spoken word version of Rocket Man at full volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at the office?
Yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at home?
Yes.

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

Can I watch CMEpalooza while at a coffee shop?
That depends. Will you be drinking a skinny latte while watching? If yes, then no, you may not watch CMEpalooza Fall while at a coffee shop.

Can I watch CMEpalooza with Magic Johnson?
I don’t know. Let’s ask him.

I guess he’s busy.

Do I have to pre-register or register?
Nope.

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza? 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 perform his new one-man show for you, Game of CMEpalooza Thrones.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza?
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 Spring 2019, 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 ASiM 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

We always get to as many questions as we can throughout each presentation.

Do I have to watch all the sessions?
YES! No. Watch what interests you.

Will the sound quality for each presenter be crystal clear with consistent volume and no glitches?
No. Will it be pretty good for most presenters? Yes. There will be some who sound better than others. There may be a few glitches and hiccups. That’s just how it goes with a free conference where presenters volunteer their time and use their own equipment. Some people aren’t comfortable doing a presentation while wearing headphones and a mic, so we don’t force them to use it. We do the best that we can with what we have available to us. That said, there seems to have been some improvements within Google Hangouts this year, so perhaps we’ll get lucky

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 each 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.

 

Announcing Our #CMEpalooza Pursuit Winners

We had a record number of entries into our Sponsor event, #CMEpalooza Pursuit, this spring – who knew that people liked free money?

I’m also pleased that our audience learned so much about our 21st president, Chester Alan Arthur. Derek tells me that he is planning to grow muttonchops like Our Most Forgotten President just in time for Wednesday’s live broadcast of CMEpalooza Spring. I think it’ll be an improvement.

Anyway, we gathered a roomful of our trusty interns this morning to witness the highly anticipated drawing for the winners of our Sponsor event, each of whom wins a $100 Amazon gift card. Here are the champions, my friends:

  • Jayzona Alberto, EdD, MS, Education Development Specialist, Continuing Medical Education, Stanford Center for Continuing Education
  • Judith Orvos, ELS, President, Orvos Communications
  • Stephanie Staggs, MHA, CHCP, Program Coordinator,Graduate & Continuing Medical Education, College of Medicine, Texas A&M University
  • Allyson Baer, MA, Senior Program Administrator, Data Analysis and Reporting, CE, Education, Science, and Professional Development, American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Katie O’Connell, Senior CME Event Coordinator, Continuing Medical Education, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

For anyone interested in the right answers for the full quiz, here they are.

The Haiku CME Deserves, Not the Haiku CME Needs: It’s CMEpalooza Haiku

the hero deserved
not the hero that we need
palooza haiku

coming in one week
cmepalooza spring
what could be better?

9 AM ET – Can You Define and Articulate the Value of Your Education?

value does not mean
all about the benjamins
build better stories

10 AM ET – Outcomes Standardization Project: One Year Later

it has been one year
since these guys started working
are we standard yet?

11 AM ET – The MECC Reborn: Our Present and Future

rising from the ash
of new york times articles
the mecc is reborn

Noon ET – The Multi-day Medical Education Program: The Rationale for Longer-Term Courses

consider this thought
maybe instead of smaller
it should be bigger

1 PM ET – Lighten the Load! Designing Efficient, Engaging Education Based on Cognitive Principles

both of these speakers
are much smarter than I am
cognition science!

2 PM ET – You Can Do It! Busting Myths About the Use of Audience Response Technology

just like ray parker
busting (myths) makes us feel good
don’t ghost this session

3 PM ET – Nobody Puts Outcomes in the Corner

stop dirty dancing
with needless outcomes levels
it’s time to align

4 PM ET – CME Overview for the CME Professional

oldhead or newbie
here’s an overview for all
(we’re all young at heart)

Sponsors

a couple haikus
for gold and silver sponsors
scott is making me

Gold

our sole gold sponsor
AcademicCME
stay gold ponyboy

Silver

Educational
Concepts that are Creative
click here to learn more

when you think silver
think ASiM CE
call daniel not dan

it’s not provolone
it’s Prova Education
bad on sandwiches

Don’t Forget: CMEpalooza Pursuit Entries Due Friday

A quick reminder for those of you who like free money: Entries for CMEpalooza Pursuit, our annual Sponsor event, are due on Friday, April 12 at 11:59 p.m. ET. You can get all of the information you need to enter by reading last week’s announcement available here.

Here is what some of the early entrants have been saying about CMEpalooza Pursuit:

  • “What a great way to learn about some of the companies who develop CME programs. I wasn’t familiar with a few of these companies, and it was a fun way to learn about them.”
  • “A good excuse to stop doing real work for a few minutes. And American history? Wow.”
  • “I got some good ideas for our future programs just by looking through what other providers are doing.”
  • “You suck” (this was Derek’s entry, which was disqualified for many, many reasons)

This Is Not the Last Day to Register for CMEpalooza

Hey gang, just a quick note to let you all know that today is not the last day to register for CMEpalooza, because, well, we don’t have registration at CMEpalooza. You can just drop by whenever you want on Wednesday, April 17, click on the live video stream, and start watching. It’s wild.

Of course, if something truly awful happens that prevents you from watching CMEpalooza live – like if you have a burst appendix or perhaps accidentally eat a piece of white chocolate and have to go to the ER – you can always watch the archive of all the presentations later that day (or any other day). Again, no registration and no charge. The advantages of a virtual conference.

Scott and I briefly toyed with the idea of trying an actual in-person, live meeting CMEpalooza. Rather, I toyed with the idea. Scott thought it was a dumb idea from the very beginning, which is probably right. Anyway, I checked out a potential venue last week. Here’s my picture from inside the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul. Also, apparently a couple teams named the Flyers and 76ers play there. News to me.

Frankly, I’m not sure if this space is big enough to accommodate us. Is the Astrodome still around?

Speaking of the 76ers, Sixers legend Bobby Jones was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame this past Saturday. While Bobby Jones looked like a high school AP calculus teacher even in his prime playing days, he was surprisingly athletic and a nasty dunker. Whenever he passes on from this world to the next, I imagine his conversation with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates will go something like this:

St. Peter: “Name?”

Bobby Jones: “Bobby Jones.”

St. Peter: “Reason you should be let into heaven?”

Bobby Jones: “I dunked on Larry Bird.”

St. Peter: “Uh…didn’t you start a sports ministry for at-risk youth??”

Bobby Jones: “Yes, but…” [whips out cellphone and plays this video]

St. Peter [with a small smile]: “OK, you’re in. Next!”

Did I just write this entire blog post for the sole purpose of showing a video of Bobby Jones dunking on Larry Bird and knocking him on his butt?

Only St. Peter knows for sure…

CMEpalooza Pursuit: Money (for You) for Free

About 2 weeks ago, I got one of those pesky automated emails in my Inbox:

Your mailbox is at 99% capacity. Please delete unwanted messages to free up space for future emails.

So of course I stopped everything immediately to make sure I didn’t miss that email from the producers of Wheel of Fortune inviting me to be a contestant on that show (I’d dominate for reals, yo).

I went back a week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 1 month, to see what I could delete. And wouldn’t you know it, but it seems like at least 50% of the “unneeded” emails came from our adoring tolerating public asking rabidly, “When is the next iteration of CMEpalooza Pursuit coming?” I guess people really, really enjoy it. Or maybe they are just greedy. Whatever.

Anyway, we’re happy today to announce the launch of CMEpalooza Pursuit 2019, our annual Sponsor event.

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 six 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 Friday, April 12.
  6. Cross your fingers.

We’ll be giving away $500 in Amazon gift cards this Spring – there will be 5 winners of $100 each.

Here’s a little secret that may convince you to play – there aren’t thousands of people expected to complete CMEpalooza Pursuit. If you play, your chances are reasonably good of winning a prize. Better than my odds of one day calling out vowels and consonants to Pat and Vanna, for instance.

And…go.

 

Launching Something New: CMEpalooza Podcast

My son is a freshman in high school and is on the rowing team, which is a new sport for all of us. I think he likes the fact that this is one of the few sports I know nothing about — other than what I read in The Boys in the Boat — and therefore I can’t give him any helpful advice. This may come as a shock to some of you, but he seems not to particularly care for my undoubtedly extremely helpful tips and pointers as to how he can better himself in any number of areas in his life. His loss.

An email recently went around to all parents of the rowers on my son’s team asking for volunteers to “drive a launch” at the upcoming spring regattas. Now, I had no idea what “a launch” is. I thought it was a truck with a trailer that hauls around the boats. So I volunteered. Why not?

It wasn’t until a few days later that I discovered that a launch is actually a mini-catamaran that coaches use during practice and referees/marshals use during the regattas. They use volunteers to zip the referees around on the water during the races. Once I realized that, I was totally in. I had one training session on how to drive the launch (I still have no idea why it’s called that) and then went live last Sunday. I had no idea what I was doing.

Fortunately, despite the frigid temps, the marshal I was responsible for motoring around was very nice, and we had a fun morning out on the lovely Schuylkill (pronounce it with me: “SKOO-kill”) River, yelling at rowers and getting them lined up correctly at the starting area. Here’s a picture of me hard at work along the famous Boathouse Row.

(Here comes the segue.)

Today we, ahem, launch something new at CMEpalooza (did you see what I did there?)

(note from Scott: Unfortunately, I did. We have, ahem, sunk to a new low. Did you see what I did there?)

The people have spoken and you are requesting, nay demanding, a CMEpalooza podcast. And we have heard you and responded. Kind of. There is a CMEpalooza podcast now, but it is basically just an archive of the audio from previous sessions. And for right now, it’s just the audio from the very first CMEpalooza back in 2014 as part of our 5-year anniversary celebration. It’s a work in progress, and we’ll be gradually adding the rest of the sessions over the next few weeks. Like driving the launch on Sunday, I really don’t know what I’m doing, but you’re all nice people and hopefully this will turn out fine, too.

Will we ever turn it into an actual podcast with original content updated on a regular basis? I don’t know. We’ll see. For now, this is what we have. Here are the links if you want to subscribe. Or you can just search for “CMEpalooza” in either Apple or Google podcasts.

Apple podcast (I can’t get the stupid Apple podcast badge to work, so here’s the link)

Listen on Google Play Music

Your (Ha Ha) #CMEstory

A few years ago, I tried to talk a few colleagues of mine into presenting a session at a live conference entitled something like “Humor in Medical Writing.” They laughed me off. (Insert rimshot).

“What exactly is funny about medical writing?” they asked. “Wouldn’t this session last like, I dunno, 20 seconds or so?”

Instead of grumbling and arguing, I let those crumbums burst my bubble and shelved the idea. Temporarily.

But dammit, there have been too many funny things happening to me lately professionally to simply let it go forever. And so today, we step aside from our usual veiled promotion for CMEpalooza Spring (it’s coming up in about a month for those of you who care, on Wednesday, April 17) so that we can all share a recent (ha ha) #CMEstory.

There were about 3 or 4 I had to choose from, but this is the one I settled on:

A few months ago, I flew down to Florida to oversee the filming of a series of enduring activities. For one of the broadcasts, our faculty – a pair of rheumatology nurse practitioners – were discussing a case involving a new patient that had recently come to one of their practices. Let’s listen in.

“Today’s case involves a 15-year-old male who presented with joint pain of approximately 1 year’s duration that has recently worsened. He is in good general health overall and had no unusual childhood illnesses to speak of.

During our initial exam, the patient noted about an hour of daily morning stiffness in the fingers, elbows, toes, knees, and back. He specifically emphasized decreasing strength and flexibility in his right wrist that prevented him from enjoying certain activities.”

The case went on for another 10 minutes or so as the faculty discussed the possible diagnosis, how they would approach treatment, and so on. When the discussion ended, I went up to them with just one general comment.

Me: “So you do realize which sorts of ‘certain activities’ this patient was talking about having trouble enjoying due to impaired grip strength in his right wrist, don’t you?”

Pause for a second. Here comes a quizzical look.

Two seconds. Trying to figure out what I’m talking about.

Three seconds. Light bulb goes on.

Four seconds. Blushing begins.

Five seconds. Uproarious laughter.

Them: “Oh my God, I hadn’t even thought of that. But you are absolutely right.”

Put that in your differential diagnosis file, people.

So that’s my recent simple (ha ha) #CMEstory. Add yours in the Comment section below. Everyone could use a laugh.

Participation is recommended but totally optional for everyone but Derek (it’s about time he supported one of my ideas).

As long as it’s not another of his hilarious, “You’ll never guess what happened in last week’s Grant Review Committee meeting” anecdotes. I swear if I have to hear one more story about the multi-hued sweater that Gary the medical director wore, I’ll… well, I won’t be happy.