Just a week and a half ago I was in beautiful Montreal, Canada, for the 15th Annual Global Alliance for Medical Education meeting. Now I’ve been to a bunch of Alliance for CME conferences, and the Annual Conference of the National Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration, and the "CME Olympics," not to mention a workshop or two and even a CME boot camp. So I’m a little jaded when it comes to this type of event.
It just blew me away. The opening keynote by Thomas Stossel, MD, from Harvard Medical School (who would have guessed that someone so passionate and intense could be so funny?), was intriguing, thought-provoking, and squirm-inducing, all at the same time. I didn’t agree with everything he had to say, but I love that someone cares this deeply about the role of industry-provider collaboration in healthcare innovation.
The glimpses into the worlds of both healthcare and CME in countries as diverse as the U.S., Canada, Malaysia, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, India, and the European union were both eye-opening, and a little scary (really, only 0.6 physicians per 1,000 people in India, a country with a population of more than a billion? And, according to Saurabh Jain, MD, director CME solutions, Indegene Lifesystems, Bangalore, it has “no real CME system.”)
The performance improvement programs sessions were among the best I’ve attended, and I’ve been to some really good ones. Finally, a session about data and performance improvement that I actually understood! Thank you to Michael Barbouche, MD, with Odeondata, for making me laugh while turning on that data lightbulb.
But they saved some of the best sessions for last—Suzanne Murray of Axdev broke us up into small groups to talk about international collaboration initiatives we have been a part of, including the challenges, barriers, and things that worked well. The energy level in the room skyrocketed, and while I knew that regular communication--face-to-face, if possible--is vital to international collaboration, I learned that it’s also important to define your terms, even if you all speak the same language. (Did you know that satellite symposia are very different things in the U.S. than they are in Europe?)
At the end of the last day, three experts gave us a glimpse into the future of CME, from mobile learning—there are some awesome apps out there already, and more coming online daily—to simulations, and of course social media, which was used throughout the meeting, mainly through Twitter. Yes, I was a tweeting fool, at least until my netbook battery died, ironically, just before the social media session. Check out the #game2010 twitter stream for yourself to see what the buzz was about.
Look for articles on all of the above in future issues of Medical Meetings, and if you are at all interested in collaborating internationally on CME, give some serious thought to attending next year’s meeting in Munich, Germany. Really, it was that good.