New to the CME conference experience? Focused on making the most of your next CME activity? These tips have been created specifically for doctors and other healthcare practitioners who enjoy destination CME conferences and want to maximize the personal and professional benefits of a CME trip.
Think About Objectives
Determine the primary goals for your trip, even if they revolve around relaxation. There’s no need to neglect any personal educational goals you may have beyond satisfying state credit requirements. By setting goals pertaining to what you expect to learn while at a destination CME conference, you can feel even better about the time you take to explore new surroundings and make vacation memories.
Set a Budget
Most of us who have taken a vacation before know the importance of setting a budget. But there are added factors when considering a CME getaway budget. Foremost are the specifics regarding your CME allowance and reimbursement policy, which can differ by healthcare facility and state. Depending on how your allowance is disbursed, you may want to consider what travel costs you’re comfortable covering up front, prior to reimbursement.
CME allowances can sometimes be used on conference-related costs other than the registration fee. Additionally, some states allow spent CME funds to be written off on a practitioner’s annual taxes, including transportation and lodging fees.
Check CME Credit Eligibility
Accreditation is the process of verifying the quality and authority of organizations that create and distribute CME content through rigorous standards of assessment and verification. All providers of CME conferences and other content formats such as online CME must go through a periodic revaluation of these criteria in order to renew accreditation status.
Ensure your selected conference offers CME credits that are relevant to your specialty and meet your professional requirements. The leading resource for up-to-date information on provider accreditation status is the ACCME’s own PARS database.
There are many advantages to registering early for a CME getaway. By securing your spot ahead of time, you guarantee the opportunity to earn the credits you need when it’s most convenient while saving money. Early registrations through select AMS live CME conferences typically expire two months in advance. Check conference details for Early Bird eligibility. Early registration expiration dates are provided within the registration details of each conference found on individual event registration pages. Contact AMS if you have any questions regarding early registrations.
Arrange transportation to the conference location and book accommodations. Some travel expenses can be reimbursed through your healthcare facility’s CME programs. Others might be tax write-offs, depending on the state.
Scout the Destination and Its Amenities
Use search engines and map tools to get a feel of location, then map out how you’ll reach your desired destinations from your hotel. Check the weather and learn about the overall climate of your location before planning an itinerary for you or the group you’re attending the conference with. Determine whether you’ll want to book any activities in advance to avoid lines and higher costs. Some tourist destinations offer public passes good at businesses and public facilities all over town.
AMS doesn’t just work with top conference venues to provide a refined and professional seminar experience, it also works to simplify your getaway by making it affordable to stay at the host venue. Destination CME venues are selected for their central location and nearby amenities, with block room discounts available to AMS customers.
Attend the Conference
Regarding your attendance and participation in CME activities: arrive early, actively attend sessions, engage in discussions, take notes, and participate in Q&A sessions. Don’t forget to network with fellow attendees. Keep an eye on conference updates, changes in schedule, and important announcements during the course of the conference.
Enjoy Leisure Activities
If time allows, plan for leisure activities or exploration of the conference location. Check tourism organizations and local business websites to learn more about nearby attractions, museums, or cultural experiences. Half-day conferences held by AMS maximize free time while balancing important learning objectives for a conference full of vacation memories.
Check the weather daily and prepare to modify your schedules if precipitation or overcast conditions make outdoor activities impossible. Ask about returnable deposits for common destination CME activities including tee time reservations, boat rentals, and jet ski rentals.
Get Ready to Collect CME Activity Documentation
Collect all necessary documentation and certificates of attendance for CME credit reporting. Steps to reporting CME activities can include acquiring the correct documentation, updating your personal data with the requisite authorities, and submitting your proof of attendance to your state board, credentialing association, and possibly your employer. You’ll also want to supply your healthcare facility’s CME administrators with proof of purchases regarding any cost you’re being reimbursed for and progress tracking requirements from your employer.
Implement What You’ve Learned
A benefit to half-day conferences is that they put presentations (and presenters) on a tight timetable, preventing all but the most vital information from bogging down seminars. In this case, the emphasis is more likely to stay on what’s actionable and addresses the everyday clinical challenges faced by practitioners. Instead of theory and endless research statistics, curriculums feature updated content applied to real-world clinical contexts.
To implement CME curriculums in your practice, you should:
- Write out your challenges in advance.
- Set objectives for conference sessions.
- Prepare questions ahead of time.
- Ask your colleagues about how they intend to use conference content.
- Identify hurdles to implementation.
- Consider what patients or clinical scenarios are the best opportunities for you to implement new techniques safely and effectively.
- Identify patient success metrics.
- Collect symptom improvement and patient outcome data.