Healthcare Industry News and Ideas for Medical Conference Organizers

CME Notes A survey of physician preferences in CME conducted in September by Jim Romero, PhD, director of CME at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, shows that doctors rely most on journals and journal clubs (84 percent of respondents) and CME courses (82 percent) to keep up-to-date in medicine. Of 300 respondents, 55 percent indicated they keep up by attending local meetings; 43 percent by attending national meetings; and, 43 percent by attending specialty meetings.

No Comment: The following appeared on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times on September 17, 1997. It is from an editorial by David J. Rothman, a professor of social medicine at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Rothman was reviewing questions asked of orthopedic residents in their In-Training Examination. Here is one question and possible answers from the test, followed by Rothman's comment:

"'An orthopedic surgeon desires to go to an educational meeting. A local sales representative informs him that his parent company has money allocated to support physician education. Which of the following payment

scenarios would be most appropriate?

"1. A direct donation from the sales representative to help pay for the cost of the meeting registration.

"2. A direct donation from the parent company to help pay for the cost of the meeting registration.

"3. The sales representative subsidizing the conference's organizers to defray the cost of the meeting registration.

"4. The sales representative subsidizing travel and lodging accommodations.

"5. The parent company

subsidizing registration,

travel and lodging


"The 'correct' answer is Number 3. Though orthopedic surgeons earn on average more than $400,000 a year, the idea that they might pay their own way to a conference so that they are not beholden to a drug company isn't even considered."

Strength in numbers: Jefferson Medical College, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Temple University, and the University of Pittsburgh have been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) as the Consortium of Academic Continuing Medical Education (CACME). That is, each school is dependent on the others for monitoring, cooperation, assistance, policy development, and reporting. For more information, contact Denny Lott, DEd, director of continuing education at Penn State's College of Medicine.

What happens when a patient reads about a new test that screens for a particular condition and then demands that it be administered? What if his doctor believes the test to be either ineffective or unethical? The topic is discussed in "Ethical Considerations in the Provision of Controversial Screening Tests," in the September/October 1997 issue of the Archives of Family Medicine. A speaker on the topic might be the paper's lead author, David J. Doukas, MD, associate professor in the University of Michigan's Department of Family Practice. He can be reached at (313) 998-7120, ext. 313.

Association Notes More fallout from the AMA/Sunbeam deal: According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Medical Society and some state medical associations are considering--or have passed--resolutions criticizing the American Medical Association (AMA) for its botched agreement to endorse certain Sunbeam products. The Illinois society requires its members to join the AMA, in return for which it receives such special privileges as a discount on dues. It fears a decline in membership if physicians decide they don't want to be associated with the AMA anymore.

The 1997 Rutledge W. Howard, MD Awards, given to state medical societies for achievement in accreditation, were presented in September to three outstanding state (and territory) medical societies: The Arizona Medical Association, the Medical & Chirurgical Faculty of the State of Maryland, and the Puerto Rico Medical Association. The Arizona and Puerto Rico societies were cited for general excellence; the Maryland society was cited for holding a meeting on CME to which it invited state-level sponsors from Maryland--e.g., from its own backyard--who were considered to be doing outstanding work in accreditation.

The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) in Westchester, IL, has formed an alliance with The IPA Association of America (TIPAAA) , a trade association in Oakland, CA, servicing about 800 Independent/integrated practice associations (IPAs), in order to give TIPAAA members access to up-to-date financial training. "We think it is very important for physician groups to have access to good financial resources," says TIPAAA president and CEO Albert Holloway. The two organizations plan to co-sponsor their educational conferences, and may develop new conferences in the future. Already, their Mississippi and New Jersey chapters have collaborated on programs.

Notable Meetings The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Seventh Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress takes place April 29 to May 3, 1998, in Orlando, FL . The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES) will also be meeting in Orlando just beforehand, so the two organizations will hold their first-ever Joint Symposium on one day of the meeting. The AAES draws about 100 attendees; the AACE over a thousand, according to Sandra Martin, the AACE's conference organizer. She expects the joint session will draw about 350 attendees from each group. At the AACE's Web site, visitors can see the text of and hear excerpts of talks from the previous year. Visit it at For more

information about the meet-

ing, contact the AACE at

(904) 353-7878.

The Medical Design and Manufacturing West conference and exposition will for the first time be co-located with the Pacific Design Show. The event takes place January 19 to 22, 1998 at the Anaheim (CA) Convention Center. New this year is the Medical Electronics Pavilion, at which attendees

will be able to see the latest

in electronic medical devices. For information, contact

Canon Communications at (310) 392-5509.

Technology Notes Docs Are Finally Finding

the Internet: A new study by FIND/SVP finds that physicians are slower to adopt most new media than are healthcare executives. This won't last for long, according to Tom Miller, VP of FIND/SVP and co-director of the survey. He projects doctors' use of the Web and e-mail to grow 25 to 43 percent in 1998. According to the study, 43 percent of respondents use the Internet for professional purposes. FIND/SVP estimates that 61 percent of physicians will be using the Internet for professional purposes by mid- to late-1998. For more information call (800) 965-4636.

In an industry where people skills are of paramount importance, why don't the professional certification programs, such as the CAE and CMP, test for such skills? That's what Alvin Lever, executive vice president and CEO, American College of Chest Physicians in Northbrook, IL, wants to know.

"Good executives get fired because they lack good communications skills," points out Lever. "None of the programs look at issues of communications skills or whether people have appropriate attitudes. In a service industry, you are always working with someone. Attitude and communication are the two most important things."

Why don't those programs test for such skills? The CMP program doesn't, because "people skills are difficult to test," says Craig Smith, Convention Liaison Council (CLC) chair. "Testing becomes subjective rather than objective. When you are offering accreditation, then you open yourself up to liability. People will say, 'On whose authority am I not a people-person?'"

To sound-off on any issue, contact Tamar Hosansky, fax: (978) 466-8961; e-mail

Lucille Meinsler, meeting coordinator for the American Association of Director of Psychiatric Residency Training, was the lucky winner of an all-expenses-paid trip to the 1997 Prime Time Emmy Awards, courtesy of the Pasadena (CA) Convention & Visitors Bureau. Meinsler and her husband Edward (center) are pictured here congratulating the Emmy-winning producers of "Law & Order." From left: Rene Balcer, executive producer, "Law & Order"; Lucille and Edward Meinsler; and Dick Wolf, creative executive producer, "Law & Order."