At the Alliance for CME annual conference, attendees usually debate the latest ethical and regulatory controversies in the continuing medical education field. This year’s conference, held January 30 to February 2 in Orlando, was no exception—however, speakers also focused on meeting planning logistics—for the first time in this writer’s memory. During the various discussions about the impact of 9/11, one overriding theme emerged: Medical meeting planners are not backing down, and the prognosis for health care meetings is excellent.

During a "Hot Topics in CME" session, attendees were polled via an audience response system about the effect of 9/11 on their upcoming CME plans:
o 93 percent of respondents said they were not planning to replace scheduled live meetings with electronic activities.
o 79 percent said they would continue to hold the same number of live meetings as they did before 9/11. In fact, 10 percent said they were increasing the number of live meetings. On the other hand, 10 percent were decreasing that number.
o 75 percent said they are planning the same number of activities using alternative delivery formats (such as Web-based CME) as they were before 9/11. Twenty-one percent said they would increase their use of alternate formats.
o The long-term effect of 9/11 is yet to be determined, with many respondents still undecided about future plans. Asked which alternative formats they would use more frequently in the future, 25 percent said Web-based CME; while a whopping 53 percent were as yet undecided.
o Many experts have predicted that associations will hold more regional or local meetings—attendees did support that view. Forty-eight percent said they would offer more regional or local meetings. However, 9 percent said they would offer more national meetings. But, again, the full impact is yet to be seen: 42 percent were undecided.

A more detailed report on the Alliance for CME annual conference will appear in the March/April issue of Medical Meetings.