And Now… Our 2018 CMEpalooza Fall Agenda

It is just me, or did this summer just drag on and on and on? Enough with the 16 hours of sunlight, not having to check the weather forecast every morning before getting dressed, daily visits from the ice cream truck, and many (many) glasses of wine on the roof deck.

As Punky Brewster would say, “Holy macanoli, who needs it!”

Surely, there are more important things around the bend as the air gets crisper, the days get shorter, and school buses belch black smoke throughout the neighborhood. I’m talking the start of the NFL season (our World Champion Philadelphia Eagles kick off the season next Thursday night), fighting with the kids to see how long they can delay starting their homework, and leaf piles in the backyard.

But most importantly of all, we’ve got CMEpalooza Fall lurking jjjuussttt around the bend (Wednesday, October 17 from 9 am-5 pm ET, but you already knew that).

After a few brief teasers from Derek these past few weeks, we’re finally ready to show off our Fall agenda. You can check it out by clicking this link. It’s not 100% locked in final final, but it’s pretty close, and we’ve been dilly dallying with it enough, so voila…

As usual, you’ll see a variety of sessions that will hopefully apply to the wide cross section of settings and responsibilities of CME professionals. You’ll be able to learn about MACRA, the mysterious RFP process, vexing accreditation questions, and many other topics. My personal favorite session title is called “What I Hate About You,” which could very well have been the title of the tell-all biography written by Derek’s 11th grade girlfriend (coming soon to a bookstore – wait, do they still have bookstores? – near you). Alas, it’s merely a way for providers and supporters to get a few things off their chest in a collegial sort of way. (Note from Derek: my personal favorite session title is the one I almost called the RFP session — Do You Even RFP, Bro? I changed it at the last minute because I figured I would probably be the only one who thought it was funny. That seems to happen a lot…)

Sessions will, of course, be FREE for anyone to view either live or in our archives. So take a look at the agenda when you have a chance, pull a few Rainbow Brite puffy stickers from your 3rd grade sticker book to highlight those sessions you are most interested in, and stay tuned to the blog for many more witty posts in the coming weeks.



We Need to Have a Chat About CMEpalooza — Part II

Hey gang! Derek here. I wanted to have a little chat with all of you about CMEpalooza (Again. I originally posted this in 2017, but some people never learn). Not the actual Fall event, mind you. Until we have the agenda totally set (we’re almost there), we don’t have much more to tell you about it. No, I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend lately, and I wanted to bring it to a quick end. I’m here to talk to you about the word “CMEpalooza.”

Here’s the thing — it’s”CMEpalooza.” It’s not “CMEPalooza” or “CMEPALOOZA” or…(ugh)…”CME palooza.” It’s one word with the first three letters capitalized. It’s a mash up of “CME” and “palooza.” It’s a palooza of CME. It’s CMEpalooza.

In one of the first emails Scott sent me when we first started working on CMEpalooza together, he referred to it as “CMEPalooza.” I responded to him with a threat of fisticuffs if he ever spelled it that way again. It’s one of the few arguments I’ve ever won with him. To be fair, most of our arguments rarely extend beyond this exchange:

Me: Hey, should we try this?
Scott: No.
Me: Why not?
Scott: Because it’s dumb.
Me: Good point.

So, winning this argument was no great feat. Still, I even had “CMEpalooza” t-shirts made. See?


What I’m trying to-…wait a minute. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? That’s right — CMEPALOOZA T-SHIRT CANNON AT THE NEXT ALLIANCE CONFERENCE!!! I can see it now. The first day’s keynote speaker finishes up and we’re just about ready to break for the first round of plenary sessions, when all of a sudden a loud siren begins to sound, I run onto the stage with a massive t-shirt cannon while Scott grabs the microphone and yells out “WHOOOOOOOOO WANTS A T-SHIRT?!?” The crowd goes wild as  Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”  blares overhead and I begin firing t-shirts left and right. Man, that would be great.


Where was I? Oh, right — just remember: If you’re writing it out, it’s “CMEpalooza.” All one word, no capital “P.” Now, does anyone know where I can rent a t-shirt cannon for cheap?

CMEpalooza…Soon We’ll Be Making Another Run

Yes, we are still having CMEpalooza Fall (October 17, if you don’t already have it written in red Sharpie on your calendar) and yes, we will have an agenda for it soon…ish. We’re working on it, I promise. I made this handy little infographic to help explain why it sometimes takes us a while to get moving. [Side note: Our friends at infograph-ed have little to fear from my infographic creation skills.]

CMEpalooza Fall 2018: Come aboard…we’re expecting you! (Note from Scott: I’m Isaac, Derek is Gopher [Note from Derek: this is an outrage! Clearly, I am Doc.])

A CMEpalooza Pilot Study

We’re always trying to add something new and fresh to the CMEpalooza experience, so as we prepare for Day 2 of CMEpalooza Spring, we’ll going to be piloting the Poll Everywhere audience response system during a handful of our sessions. Many of you have likely seen this app-powered technology in use in the live setting, and I really like it.

It’s a little tricky embedding Poll Everywhere into the Google Hangout platform, but our crack interns swear to me that it’s going to work (and if it doesn’t, sweet little Fiona Lamorello in cube 3D is fired. Fired, I tell you!)

So if you want to interact with some of today’s selected sessions, you will need to do one of two things before we crank up the CMEpalooza engine this morning:

  1. Download the Poll Everywhere app to your phone or tablet. When our sessions begin, you’ll just need to fire up the app and enter in “cmepalooza” as the Username for the presentation you want to join. The questions will pop up as they are being asked in the presentation.
  2. Don’t download the Poll Everywhere app and simply point your browser to Same thing – questions will pop up as they are being asked.

Either approach works equally well. You can do it people – be brave!

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Spring?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza Spring?
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 video of the Walmart kid yodeling 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 video of the Walmart kid yodeling at top volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring at the office?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring at home?

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

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring while at a Boston Celtics playoff game? 
Can you? Yes. May you? No.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring with Miss Piggy?
I don’t know. Let’s ask her.

I guess not.

Do I have to pre-register or register?

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza Spring? 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 re-enact this famous John Cusack scene from Say Anything while singing “In Your Eyes” at the top of his lungs.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza Spring?
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 2018, 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

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.

How many days is CMEpalooza?
It is two days. It was two days at the beginning, then it was one day for quite a while, and now it is two days again. Will it stay like this forever? Who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll see. As the great philosopher Ted “Theodore” Logan once said, “All we are is dust in the wind, dude.”

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.


CMEpalooza: A Look Back at the Beginning

Well, howdy friend. It’s good to see you again. I feared after you fell into the watering hole during Farmer McKenzie’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration that we might not see you again for a while. Glad I was wrong.

You picked a good day to come back to the award-winning CMEpalooza blog, because I’ve got the ye-olde time machine fired up and ready to go. It’s the fifth anniversary of the little-meeting-that-could, so I thought it would be a good time to go way back to the beginning, March 20, 2014, to see how far we’ve come.

Hop on in.

Something oblong and green zooms away (humor me people – I ain’t Ray Bradbury)

Over there you’ve got Derek Warnick. Sure he don’t look like much. The guy hasn’t shaved in about a week, and I think that yellowish stain on his shirt is left over from the nacho cheese he ate for breakfast 3 days ago. But give the guy a break. He’s trying to be what we call an in-de-pen-dent consultant, which basically means he checks his email every morning to see if anyone will pay him to do, um, something. No one is exactly sure what.

You can probably imagine how this has all gone. After a month or so, Derek has plowed through all 65 episodes of What’s Happening!! and he’s currently knee-deep into Season 3 of its ill-fated sequel, What’s Happening Now!! Needless to say, his wife isn’t looking too kindly at Derek’s new-fangled ‘career.’

“Will you get off your butt and do something today!?!?”

We cleaned up the language a little bit, but you get the point. It’s here that Derek’s life is about to take a major turn for the better. Just as with so many success stories throughout history, this one started with a nagging wife and a lazy husband.

You may note that Derek is grumbling as he peels himself off the couch. He had secretly been working on a manifesto he called “Believe in the Stages” that spelled out in detail how his beloved Philadelphia 76ers could tank the next few seasons, draft a few potential superstars, and transform themselves into a powerhouse franchise. He even emailed this strange document to a man named “Sam Hinkie” – not surprisingly, he never heard anything back. It was a pretty outlandish idea that would certainly never actually work in real life.

“So now what?” Derek, thought to himself. “Hmm, I just came back from the Alliance meeting where I spent our last $500 in savings buying Drambuie shots for everyone on the last night. I vaguely remember sitting in a session in my usual spot (back row, corner seat closest to the door) and noticing that there was very little energy in the room. I heard of lot of people complaining about how all of these live meetings suck up so much time and money that they just aren’t worth the trouble any more.

“Hmm, maybe there is something there… Nah. Better to focus on how Raj and Re-Run will get out of today’s pickle down at the diner. These guys are hilarious.”

“Move your butt, Warnick. Now!”

There’s that pesky wife again. Good thing, too, because that’s the thing that finally got Derek moving. And once he started with one good idea, the next came pretty easily. And so did the next. And so on.

By the time the day was over, the seed had been planted for the first CMEpalooza. This first extravaganza was a little different than what you may now be familiar with. Basically, it was a presentation free-for-all. You wanted a 15-minute slot to talk about the watercooler conversation you had with the, er, watercooler repair man about P values? You got it. A full hour to walk through every ACCME accreditation criteria one by one? No problem. Anyone who wanted to present on any topic got a slot.

Underestimating the overall interest of our little world, Derek was figuring maybe he’d get enough volunteers to fill a few hours. Instead, he got 2 full days worth of presentations. From “Why Adult Learning Theory Is Insufficient to Drive Learning” through “Implications, Applications and Approaches to Complying with the Sunshine Act,” there was a lot of ground covered.

Give the man some credit. He flew solo for the first CMEpalooza Spring. He learned the ins and outs of Google Hangouts On Air (with a little coaching from a certain someone we’ll call “Scott” – more on him later) and decided that would be the presentation platform. He created a website – the very same one we use today – and populated it with some very basic information, including an agenda and a live viewing page.

From the very start, CMEpalooza was a hit. Turns out that people like free education – who knew? The technology platform was stable and reasonably user-friendly. There were a few audio and video glitches here and there, but all in all, that first event was a success. People liked it.

Once a little momentum was generated, things kept rolling. That “Scott” guy came on board prior to the initial  CMEpalooza Fall and helped give our events a little more structure, introducing things like sponsorships, our typical panel format for sessions, and other important tweaks to further shape the CMEpalooza brand.

A little more than 5 years later, we’re now on the cusp of this year’s CMEpalooza Spring. We’re returning to our roots and splitting the event into 2 days with 4 hours of content on Wednesday and another 4 hours on Thursday. Some things have changed since Derek first came up with the CMEpalooza concept, but our core tenet – free education for all – remains the same.

We hope you’ll join us for the live version of our broadcasts this week. If you’re busy, we understand, and that why we have our Archives. Our sessions are usually dropped in a few hours after they are complete.

We’ll keep trying new things year after year, and we thank everyone in our audience for sticking with us, laughing at our (mostly terrible) jokes, and coming back time and time again to watch and participate in our broadcasts. This is how we have fun.



The Return of CMEpalooza Haiku

palooza haiku
one great day now split in two
check it out next week

10 AM ET – Not Another Outcomes Panel! (Or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bar Graphs)

oh look! it’s outcomes
outcomes standardization
for you and for me

11 AM ET – Including Patients and Patient Advocacy Groups in Educational Planning & Delivery: How to Make It a “Win-Win”

what’s in it for me?
the patient advocate asks
find the answer here

Noon ET – Fear Not the Force: Twenty Predictions Five Years Later

so certain were you
go back, closer you must look
nerd alert this is

1 p.m. ET – CME Unicorn – Lessons from Silicon Valley and the Stage

are unicorns real?
my daughter says that they are
good enough for me

10 AM ET – Seeing It Both Ways

seeing it both ways
like a magic eye picture
purchased at Spencer’s

11 AM ET – IDEAS for developing effective digital interventions to change health behavior

have you ever said
huh, I have no idea?
here are some for you

Noon ET – Addressing Educational Needs Around Medicinal Cannabis: Implications for CME

goal: write a haiku
about cannabis sans jokes
mission accomplished

1 PM ETElevating our Educators: Practical Strategies for Improving Faculty Teaching Skills

gather ‘round and watch
teachers teaching teachers to
teach teachers to teach

Bonus haiku that I couldn’t resist after Monday night’s debacle

a sadness hovers
over the palooza team
the sixers have lost


Special ‘Trust the Process’ Offer From CMEpalooza

Hey, gang — it’s your old pal Derek here to tell you about a very special offer for CMEpalooza, coming up just around the corner on April 25-26. Before I tell you about our amazing new offer, though, let me first remind you to check out the agenda for CMEpalooza if you haven’t already done so. You can read about all the sessions on your own time, but I do want to once again point out that CMEpalooza is slightly different this year in that rather than one long full-day, it will be held over two short-days. Why? Don’t ask me. You guys are the ones who wanted to do it this way. I’m fascinated to see how it will play out.

Anyway, back to the special offer. We here at CMEpalooza are huge fans of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers (note from Scott: for the 90% who will understand little of the basketball-ese to come, just nod your head and play along. Humor the guy). You may recall a blog post that Scott wrote a few days back in which he recounted our attending a Sixers basketball game together. I believe he referred to me as the “most pessimistic ‘fan’ I have ever met.” Sadly, this is not untrue. I am not exactly delightful company when it comes to watching sporting events in which my favorite teams are playing, the Sixers in particular. The song Pancho & Lefty by Townes Van Zandt opens with lines that sums up my Sixers fandom pretty well:

Living on the road my friend,
Was gonna keep you free and clean
And now you wear your skin like iron,
And your breath as hard as kerosene

Despite my omnipresent pessimism, the team has done fantastically well this year. Like, unbelievably well, in fact. I’ve even caught myself thinking, “OK, I think they can probably win this one” before a few games. They are headed to the playoffs for the first time in years, have two of the top young players in the game, and the team’s unofficial slogan of “Trust the Process” has exploded into meme-worthy status. Even my bff Joel Embiid breaking his face didn’t slow them down as they are currently in the midst of a record-breaking 16-game winning streak to end the regular season. Everything is coming up Sixers!

In honor of the success of our beloved home team, the CMEpalooza crew is prepared to make our most amazing offer ever. As of this moment, registration for CMEpalooza is now…ABSOLUTELY FREE! Yes, you read that correctly: 100% free. This is a one-time offer*, so be sure to tune in on April 25 & 26 to take advantage of it. Trust me, it’s only because we are in such a good mood about the Sixers that we are doing this**. Normally, registration fees are quite expensive***. The only requirement to take advantage of this incredible offer is that you must play the video below and sing along at the top of your lungs.

Clap your hands everybody. Trust the Process.

*Not true. It’s always free.
**Also not true. We are in a good mood, but it’s always free.
***Again, not true. Never expensive. Always free.