Health Care News and Ideas for Medical Conference Organizers * INDUSTRY NOTES A biotech startup will team up with Merck to educate physicians about HIV drug-resistance testing. ViroLogic Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc. will jointly develop and execute educational programs on the utility of HIV drug-resistance testing for physicians across the nation. ViroLogic is a South San Francisco, Calif. - based biotechnology company specializing in developing treatments for serious viral, immunologic, and oncologic diseases.

ViroLogic and Merck will conduct a series of physician education meetings that will feature prominent researchers and clinicians on HIV therapy and drug resistance, and will educate physicians about the latest scientific and clinical data in the field. So far this year, both the Department of Health and Human Services and the International AIDS Society - USA have issued guidelines recommending the use of drug-resistance testing in the routine care of HIV patients.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has agreed to host medical content on www.invacare.com, the Web site of Invacare Corp., Elyria, Ohio. Invacare manufactures home health care and other nonacute health care products. Content supplied by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation will include history of the disease or condition; treatment methods and modalities, including re-habilitation trends; and current research.

Consumers visiting the Invacare Web site will also be able to access a list of products which are medically appropriate for a particular disease or condition, and by linking to another site, they'll be able to purchase products. Visitors will also be able to link to the Cleveland Clinic's Web site to access a list of physicians who specialize in treating these specific diseases or conditions. Invacare and the Cleveland Clinic anticipate launching the new content during the first quarter of 2001.

* MEDICAL NOTE Nurses love their profession but have grave concerns about their day-to-day work, according to a report presented by the Minnesota Nurses Association at its annual convention in October. In a study of 2,251 licensed registered nurses in Minnesota, when asked if they had a high level of satisfaction in their career, an overwhelming 70.6 percent said they did. When queried as to whether they would encourage others to go into the practice of nursing, however, 39.7 percent couldn't make the recommendation. Asked "Do you believe you will receive excellent quality care in your declining years," nearly four out of five said no. When asked to rank the importance of various items in terms of their job satisfaction, respondents listed, in descending order: respect, salary/benefits, workplace safety, influence over work hours, influence over practice decisions, and education preparation.

* CME NOTE Category 1 credit for business study? The University of South Florida in Tampa is offering online courses to improve physicians' business knowledge and earn CME credit. USF developed the Business of Medicine Online Executive Certificate Program (a CME activity) in response to the increasing number of business demands being placed on physicians in today's competitive health care industry. The program draws upon USF's expertise in providing business education to physicians, which includes developing the very first MBA program specifically for doctors, back in 1991.

The program consists of four courses, including The Business Environment of Health Care, Data-Driven Management, Marketing and the Management of Service Quality, and Managing People/Developing Strategies. There is no set course schedule; physicians can work at their own pace and complete courses as early or late in the two-month-long course period as they want. They can take courses in any order they choose. Classes are taught by the same professors who teach on campus at USF. On completion of the program, physicians will receive a Business of Medicine Certificate from USF as well as earn a maximum of 96 hours (24 hours per course) in Category 1 credit toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award.

To request a USF Business of Medicine Executive Certificate Program brochure and CD-ROM, physicians should call (877) 370-2092, fax (800) 345-8273, or e-mail info@USFcme.com. Additional information is also available online at www.USFCME.com/pr.