This Is The Future Of CME

Below is the video of Lawrence Sherman’s presentation “Turning Medical Education Inside Out and Upside Down” from the Alliance for CEHP’s 38th Annual Conference. Watch it. It’s fantastic.


Lawrence talks about the future of continuing education in the health professions from a number of different angles and how, ultimately, “it is all about meeting the educational needs of the learners.” But, what I want to focus on is not the actual content of his presentation (which is great, don’t get me wrong), but how the video of the presentation came to exist in the first place.

The day before the conference started, I was reading through some of the #acehp13 tweets (hashtag for the conference) and noticed someone expressing disappointment that they would not be able to attend Lawrence’s presentation the next day due to a prior commitment. They asked -somewhat in jest – if it could be recorded so that they could watch it later. It was at that point that I tweeted to them that, well, technically we could do so using a Google+ Hangout On Air and archiving the video on YouTube. I have never actually done this beyond just fooling around for 30 seconds or so, but the idea sounded intriguing, so we decided to give it a shot.

The next afternoon, I showed up at Lawrence’s presentation with my MacBook Air and…that’s it. I grabbed a seat in the front row, close to the podium, set my laptop on the table, positioned the built-in video camera as best I could, fired up Google+, started a Hangout On Air, clicked the “Broadcast Now” button, and 5 seconds later  I was live streaming Lawrence’s presentation to the world (via my G+ feed and YouTube channel). 5 minutes after the presentation ended, the video was archived on YouTube, ready for viewing. It was incredibly easy to do.

About 5 minutes into the presentation, I realized I had forgotten all about the Prezi  slides, so I had to reposition the camera a bit to capture both Lawrence and the screen where the slides were being projected. A few minutes later, I got a tweet from someone watching the video who said the audio had cut-out. I got out my iPhone, plugged in my headphones, and went to my YouTube channel and watched/listened to the presentation as it streamed. Everything seemed fine to me and it turned out to be a problem on the viewer’s end, which she corrected by refreshing her page. The biggest issue I had was that there was no place for me to plug in my laptop and I watched nervously as my power level indicator rapidly dwindled into the red. The presentation ended with less than 10 minutes of power left.

To me, this is the future of CME – advances in technology that make sharing educational content with an open-ended number of potential learners easier, faster, and cheaper (much, much cheaper). Why should we pay tens of thousands of dollars for a video crew to record a presentation when someone armed with only a laptop can do a pretty decent job for free? Yes, the quality of video and audio isn’t the same, but: 1) does that really matter for something like this? (side note: No. If your content is good, people will watch.) and; 2) the quality is only going to improve. It always does.

My advice? Learn how to do a Google Hangout. Learn how to create a screencast. Learn how to use WordPress to build a blog or website. These – along with many others – are the tools the next generation (and current one, too!) of CME professionals will need to know how to use. Learn how to use them or risk being left behind. This is the future of CME.

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12 responses to “This Is The Future Of CME

  1. Great stuff, D — thanks for, once again, pointing out the obvious. You know, the quality may not be stellar in this technology, but the old guys who care about perfection are dropping like flies and the people who embrace YouTube and ‘on the fly’ captures don’t care! THEY are our target audience!! Love it

  2. Insightful as always, Derek. I just shared this blog post with the Programs Committee for the Colorado Healthcare Communicators group. We develop and manage 8 programs annually for communications professionals working in healthcare organizations. Our February program will focus on developing social medial campaigns. The last paragraph of your post says it all. Thank you!!

  3. Love it. It motivates me and reinforces what I want to accomplish as a CME/CE professional…but I’m saddened by the thought of trying to implement it and all the roadblocks to changing how things are done. Even if the old guard are dropping like flies…they’re still around. They are still “experts” who want to do things the same way.

    • But things are changing. Slowly, but they’re changing. I think it’s important not to ram change down people’s throats. It takes time, but we’ll get there. The key is to show how the change is for the better and not just change for change sake.

  4. Google Hangouts On Air really is an amazing technology. We started using it last year to bring together professionals from across the country to log-in, talk with each other and then broadcast via YouTube.

    It’s a free service, so it does take a little more planning (bandwidth is a big key). A nice feature if you have your own blog etc. is that you can embed the youtube video into your site to keep all of your own branding. Even if you embed the video before you go on air, it has a nice screen that looks like a fuzzy tv but states that the on-air programming will start soon.

    One key note. Save your video off of YouTube so you have your own personal archive and if you are business, follow YouTubes rules on how to set up a business YouTube account. Unfortunately, we had ours set up under an individual’s account, and when they moved onto a new job we managed to lose all of our recordings trying to transition them. It was a big mess, and some great content was lost, but hopefully others will learn from our experience there.

    Also, even if your recording live seems botching, wrong, etc. etc. Let it run. YouTube does a pretty good job of capturing the whole thing and making your on-demand presentation still look and sound good even if there were bandwidth issues up front.

    There are a couple of fun plug-ins, that will put glasses on your face, hats on your head etc. These are fun to play with and actually a great fun tool for getting new users more used to the platform.

    Install the lower thirds plug-in for nice professional look with a persons logo, name, position/organization showing up below their face (again all free).

    I think it is awesome that more and more of these tools are getting out there. I thought it would happen much earlier (I blogged about it ~2008) than this as there have been tools around like this for a few years, but Google brings an ease of use to it and a wider scope of people.

    I think someone like yourself could create interesting 2-3min clip ustream content just by sitting down with various people you meet at a conference. I think there is great value there. Imagine the CME guy with 20, 3min interviews with key CME people from the conference. That would be cool and ultra-digestible on the go.

    I wonder how this will effect the future of legal stuff like disclosure to broadcast speakers, slides, etc. In your instance you asked the speaker, but its to a point where any speaker at any conference has to expect that anything they do may be recorded and even broadcast live. I think those will be interesting conversations in privacy, conference marketing etc.

    I imagine you’ll see a lot of established conferences trying to ban this technology, citing registration fees, etc etc, and then smaller lesser known conferences adopting it as a marketing strategy, where in the end the smaller conference will blossom out of the openness and the old school closed conference will have to change course and adopt more openness or face extinction.

    • Great comments, Cheyenne. Thanks so much for sharing! I love it when I can learn something from a comment to my own blog post.

      I think you’re correct about the reaction of established conferences. They’ll either embrace it fully or completely reject it. It’s going to be an eye-opening experience for a lot of them…

  5. The future is here. Let’s embrace it!

  6. Pingback: Wing of Zock “Chart Review” Blog Carnival, March 2013 Edition | Wing Of Zock

  7. Pingback: DIY CME | Confessions of a Medical Educator

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