HCEA Report

EXHIBIT MANAGERS: BEYOND BOOTHS "Would you trade a pink feather for a blue one?" It was an amazing sight--hundreds of adults sitting at round tables after imbibing a champagne breakfast, painstakingly pasting glitter and feathers onto paper masks. One especially creative attendee took her breakfast evaluation, folded it into a fan, and glued it to her mask. (Just in case you're wondering what happens to all those questionnaires you hand out.) Mask-making was just one of the many Mardi Gras-themed events that jazzed up the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association annual conference, held June 13 to 15 in--where else?--New Orleans.

But it was the numerous hats (not masks) that they now have to wear that drew many of the 641 attendees to the conference. Because of corporate downsizing, exhibit managers are being pressed into service as meeting planners, organizing everything from sales training to satellite symposia to parties. To address their changing job requirements, HCEA offered sessions on event management and CME. Participants discussed attendance trends at health care conventions and trade shows, and shared marketing strategies.

*E-CME:. As MM reported in the Sixth Annual Physicians Preferences Survey (January/February 1999 issue), doctors are obtaining more and more of their education on the Web. That trend sparked questions at the workshop entitled "The Role of CME in the Marketing Mix." How can providers follow regulations and separate promotion from education on the Web? asked attendees. Help is on the way, said facilitator Robert F. Orsetti, vice president, Medical Education Collaborative, Freehold, N.J. The FDA is expected to issue a draft guidance in a few months, he said, and the Accreditation Council for CME is developing guidelines as well.

*Meeting Software: Technology was also a focus of the association representatives' roundtable. (Twenty-seven association planners attended HCEA). To address their need for information on meeting management software, roundtable attendees proposed a software summit, which they may hold in conjunction with HCEA's international and marketing summit in February.

In other HCEA news: * HCEA released its "Best Practices on Exhibitor-Designated Contractors." Cov-

ering issues such as insurance, chain of command, and dress, the guidelines are available at www.hcea.org.

* Association Alert, a newsletter that includes tips on marketing, sponsorship, and international meeting planning, was launched this year.

For more HCEA coverage, see "Beyond Exhibit Management," page 64 of this issue.

E-Housing PASSKEY WINS MORE CVBS Passkey.com, an Internet-based housing service, has landed contracts with five more CVBs: Minneapolis; Nashville; Providence, R.I.; Cleveland; and St. Louis. The CVBs in Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo; and Orlando, Fla., had already signed on. And the fast growing company has also received a non-exclusive endorsement from the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

Based in Quincy, Mass., Passkey.com offers ResDesk, a centralized online database that gives the meeting planner, the housing company and/or CVB, and the hotels, real-time access to room-block information. (See June 1999 issue, Boom Time for Web-Based Housing Manage-ment, page 11.) For more information, visit www.passkey.com.

The Big Orange FLORIDA BUILDING BOOM With 2.4 million square feet of exhibition space, the World Expo Center in Osceola County, Central Florida, was supposed to be the nation's biggest convention center. At least that was the plan, announced last year by a development team that included Stanley Shenkman, owner of Toronto's International Centre, and Robert L., Miller, the real estate developer who owned the land. Size was not the project's only unusual element. The WEC was to be privately funded, with three trade show management companies signing on as equity partners in a time-share-style arrangement that would have been an industry first.

But now, after a series of setbacks, the original idea has been altered considerably. After Shenkman and the equity partners pulled out, Miller decided to go a more traditional funding route, seeking $120 million in bonds from Osceola County. Despite some legal obstacles, it now appears that the bonds will be issued.

While the initial building design, which called for 11 contiguous, identical exhibition halls, was geared to the needs of trade shows, the re-visioned WEC will be designed for conventions as well as shows, says Madalyn Barton, director of sales and marketing, WEC. Phase one will feature 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space. WEC execs now aim for a January 2000 groundbreaking and a 2003 opening. Eighteen events are already booked from 2003 through 2012, according to Barton. She would not reveal the clients' names, but said they are all for-profit shows, and that none of them is in the health care industry.

The giant exhibition center is only the centerpiece of a proposed $1 billion World Expo Park. Also on the drawing board: a 125,000-square-foot convention center, a 2,000-room Hyatt hotel, and a 1,500-room Inter-Continental hotel.

And that's not all the projects planned for the Kissimmee/St. Cloud area, which borders Orange County and Disney World. Next door to WEC, Opryland Florida has just celebrated its groundbreaking. The 65-acre property, slated for a February 2002 opening, will offer 1,400 guest rooms and 380,000 square feet of meeting space. So far, advance bookings total $20 million.

With songs such as "You're a One-Hip Mama (Cause They Won't Pay for Two)," "If You Won't Refuse Treatment, We'll Find Someone Who Will," and "Better Come Home With Me Baby Cause We Ain't Allowed to Stay Overnight," Dr. Sam Bierstock and his Managed Care Blues Band, have hit a nerve--and a funny bone. Playing for conferences around the country, Bierstock leaves attendees "tapping their toes and shaking their heads," says Cecil B. Wilson, president of the Florida Medical Association .

When his career as an eye surgeon was ended because of an injury, Bierstock became a medical information systems consultant. Working with doctors around the country, he realized how upset they were about managed care, and he also noted that many people didn't understand the changing health care system. He decided to combine humor and education, and "bring a breath of fresh air to a beleaguered population."

Launched in 1998, Sam and his band have performed in 35 states for a wide range of health care groups, including the Southern Maryland Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center, Fuji Medical Systems, and the Organization of State Medical Society Presidents. He has also produced a CD, which corporations can have labeled with their name, and use as giveaways at conventions.

Taking his humorous consciousness-raising to Capitol Hill, he sent his CD to President Clinton and Vice President Gore. And Congressman Greg Ganske (R--Iowa) forwarded a CD to the coalition pushing the Patient Access to Responsible Care Act.

If you visit www.managedmusic.com, you'll not only get more information, you'll also get the chance to send Dr. Sam your idea for a song title. As you might imagine, "we get the wildest [ideas]," says Bierstock. Asking for suggestions, he adds, "is a dangerous thing to do in the health care industry."

Product cleanup after cadaveric education programs--should this be left to sales reps? Geri Shaffer, manager, conventions and meetings, Aesculap, Inc., South San Francisco, says that when her company participates in cadaveric courses, sales reps are on-hand to answer surgeons' questions and provide assistance. But as the course concludes, her concerns arise . . . should company reps do the cleanup? "I'd like to see better definition of the sales rep's role as it relates to product cleanup in cadaveric settings," she says. "This has been my pet peeve for 10 years. In my opinion, there is not enough instruction from course producers when it comes to cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing products. I'd like to see written procedures provided. At Aesculap, we go to great lengths to ensure safe cleanup. I always research this issue on my own and with the course producers in advance. The course producers do an OK job, however, I feel [the process] could be improved and standardized.""

CME Crosses Borders GLOBAL GAME PLAN For years unique to the U.S., national accreditation systems for continuing medical education are now being considered around the world. So reported CME experts at the Global Alliance for Medical Education's (GAME) fourth annual conference, held at the end of June.

Convening in New York City's, Princeton Club, about 60 attendees discussed international trends in CME. The conference was international in more than name--about a quarter of the attendees were from outside the U.S., representing Brazil, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Spain, and the United King-dom. Many of the attendees were from for-profit communications, medical education, and publishing companies; medical school CME providers were also present, as were CME leaders Bruce Bellande, executive director, Alliance for CME; and Dennis Wentz, MD, director, CME, AMA.

Lewis A. Miller, GAME president; and chairman, Intermedica, Inc., Darien, Conn., opened the conference with an overview of medical education movements worldwide. In a roundtable the following day, attendees from around the globe added their perspectives.

International CME Trends: *France has mandated CME, but the commission responsible has been dissolved, stalling the process.

*Mexico, Spain, and the Netherlands are developing systems.

*In Belgium, physicians fees are reduced if they don't obtain CME credit. In Norway, physicians are awarded bonuses for participating in CME.

*Physicians are self-regulated in the United King-dom, but well-publicized malpractice suits are turning public opinion against them. "Doctors had better get their act together or [they will] be regulated from the outside," said Richard Derrick, European regional sales development director, Thomson Healthcare Information Group, UK.

*With the growth of technology, more Asian physicians will access western CME, providing joint venture opportunities for U.S. companies, said Michael Sarajian, director, international development, Thomson Healthcare Infor-mation Group, Montvale, N.J. Sarajian advised Americans to form partnerships with local companies.

*In South America, interest in accreditation is growing slowly, but steadily.

While the overall theme of the conference was the growth in CME worldwide, Lewis urged U.S. attendees, when collaborating with other nations' educators, to "recognize and respect differences. Don't tell everybody that we know [how to provide CME] just because we're doing it," he said. "We're not doing it perfectly, and we can learn from others."

Game Playing What hit song by the Rolling Stones is an example of--in CME-speak--unmet needs? *

That was one of the clues in a CME version of "Jeopardy," facilitated by Judy Ferguson, MD, editorial director, Intra Medical Health Services, Mississauga, Ontario. Speakers at the recent Global Alliance for Medical Education Conference did more than talk about dumping lectures for more interactive formats--they demonstrated just how providers can do that.

Calling for volunteers, Ferguson organized two teams. Two cheerleaders, given "applause" signs as props, were assigned to enlist audience support. Following the "Jeopardy" format, players picked from categories such as Evaluations, Acronyms, and CME Theory. They consulted with their teammates before raising their hands (this was the low-tech version, sans e-response systems) to provide the answer.

Don't use interactivity just for the sake of being interactive, said Ferguson, "but because you think it can be effective. When you increase audience enjoyment, and attention, perhaps you increase retention."

Judging by the attendees' response, CME "Jeopardy" definitely accomplishes at least the first two goals.

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Roy B. Evans, Jr., CAE, was hired by the Professional Convention Man-agement Association in 1982--on a Friday the 13th, as he recalls, with his dry humor. Now, he has announced his retirement as president and CEO. The timing, he says, is perfect. "I'm young enough to enjoy it."

Of his accomplishments at PCMA, Evans says he is most proud of building the staff, membership, and attendance at the annual meeting. When Evans joined PCMA, it had 700 members. Now it has 4,800 members and an operating budget of $8.8 million.

" Quotables "Doctors think they have a divine right [to gifts]. If physicians didn't have their hands out, companies wouldn't have to [provide freebies]."

--Robert F. Orsetti, vice president, Medical Education Collaborative, Freehold, N.J., speaking at the June HCEA annual conference about the increase in violations of the AMA's Ethical Opinion on Gifts to Physicians from Industry. For more on HCEA, see news story, page 17, and Beyond Exhibit Management, page 64.

"You don't want to be in the plane when the pilot's practicing." --Jeffrey B. Cooper, PhD, director of the Center for Medical Simulation at Harvard Medical School, underscoring the critical need for simulation in medical training. See Virtual Risks, Real Rewards, page 38.

In our June issue, Quotables section, page 18; and Who Has the Right to Teach, beginning on page 45, Robert F. Orsetti should have been referred to as vice president, not president, of Medical Education Collaborative, Freehold, N.J. Also, MEC is a not-for-profit company, rather than a for-profit one.

IF YOU'VE HEARD OF MP3, it's probably in the context of illegally downloaded pop music. An audio-file-compression technology, MP3 allows music (or other recorded audio information) to be reproduced with exceptional quality at a fraction of the file size of other audio formats. The files can be played on a personal computer, through a stereo system hooked up to a computer, or using a personal MP3 player such as the Diamond Rio.

While the music piracy issues are far from resolved, meeting planners are making note of the advantages to the MP3 format. Dr. Michael Wool, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCLA and medical education director for the Academy of Continuing Education Programs (ACEP), is one convert. Wool began offering his conference proceedings in MP3 in November 1998. Now, "every program we do will be available at our Web site in MP3," he says of the training programs he creates on HIV strategies for health care professionals.

While ACEP still distributes CD-ROMs and audiotapes, Wool is sold on the future of MP3: Distribution is cheaper and practically instantaneous, even internationally; the files can be updated, archived, and are better for the environment--you don't need the CDs, CD packaging, tapes, and so on. Plus, he says, you can index the content: It's not a linear format like an audiotape; users can search for specific information. --Susan Hatch

Prizes *For a 24-city HIV training road show ACEP produced this spring in conjunction with Bristol Myers Squibb, Wool got Diamond Multimedia Systems to donate 24 of the Rio personal MP3 players it makes to be used as door prizes, one per city. "The interest level in MP3 was very high," says Wool, who offers links to Diamond on the ACEP Web site, www.aceponline.com.


It's a go--for the first time in almost 40 years, a U.S. trade show is headed for Cuba. Peter W. Nathan, CEM, president of PWN Exhibicon International, L.L.C., recently received all the necessary approvals to hold the U.S.-Cuba Medical/Pharmaceutical/Health Care Exhibition. Sited at PABEXPO in Havana, the show will run from January 25 to 29, 2000.

Attendees will include government officials, hospital and clinic administrators, and health care practitioners. The public will be admitted on the final day. Exhibiting companies can hold seminars, Nathan adds.

Any American company that provides products or services related to the medical/pharmaceutical/health care industries is eligible to participate. For more information, contact Nathan at pwnathan@aol.com