CME NOTES Milliman & Robertson, Inc., the Seattle-based firm, a major consultant to the health care industry, recently announced the formation of Healthcare Management University (HMU). HMU's curriculum will include accredited, Category 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses for physicians, delivered via the Internet. The courses are intended to help physicians develop financial and clinical practice management skills.

A needs survey conducted by HMU confirms the results of the Medical Meetings survey of physician preferences in CME, stating that "physicians are very interested in taking some of their CME courses over the Internet or on CD-ROM, in the comfort of their home or office and on their time schedule. Physicians will certainly still travel to take some CME courses, but they will travel when the topic and/or location are most desirable.'

Another new nontraditional CME provider is in the news: Oxford Health Plans, Inc., has been granted by the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) an initial two-year term of accreditation to sponsor continuing medical education (CME) programs for physicians licensed in Connecticut and the contiguous states. "Oxford is committed to planning, implementing, and evaluating CME activities which will enhance physicians' ability to care for patients, while in turn enhancing our relationship with physicians,' said Alan Muney, M.D., chief medical officer of Oxford Health Plans. "Working under CSMS's CME standards, we will develop programs that reinforce our commitment to physician learning.'

Medical Directions Inc., Tucson, Ariz., has been awarded a $760,000 two-year grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to develop and evaluate online cancer education programs for health care providers. According to John Harris, MD, president of Medical Directions, "This marks the coming of age of Internet-based continuing medical education. This award confirms that the types of educational programs we are developing at our Web site, The Virtual Lecture Hall (www.vlh.com), are recognized as valuable by the NIH's peer-review process."

Here's a needs assessment tidbit for those who offer CME to OB/GYN and primary care physicians: According to a study published in the August 17th edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine, physician guidelines are inadequate in helping physicians counsel women in their decision-making process about whether to take postmenopausal estrogen replacement therapy.

Based on their findings, the study's authors say that future guidelines should instruct physicians to incorporate patients' perspectives into the counseling process.

NOTABLE PERFORMER Pharmaceutical marketing managers and medical association officials have nothing but nice things to say about Giovanni Livera, whose magic act, "Be Amazing," has wowed everyone from drug salespeople to health care policy wonks to working physicians. His shows are tailored to fit organizational themes, and his goal is to get his audience "thinking like magicians." Clients say his message is always appropriate to the audience, that his magic act is at the highest level of the profession, and that he always has time to meet afterward with children in the audience.

For information about Orlando-based Giovanni, call (800) 257-9648 or visit his Web site at www.wowmom.com.

NOTABLE MEETINGS "Pediatric Coding and Management Survival Strategies: 1999," held in Naples, Fla., on June 14 and 15, 1999, at the Registry Resort, focused on providing pediatricians and their office staff with practical tools to ensure optimal reimbursement through proper coding and management techniques. The event was sponsored by The Coding and Management Institute, also based in Naples; continuing education credits were offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders.

Organizers said they produced this conference at the request of pediatric practices nationwide who "were fed up with attending conferences that discuss Medicare, which doesn't apply to 99 percent of their patients."

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