Annual Meeting changes to aid membersImprovements include new subspecialty guide, transaction book, evening courses
By Cynthia Oertel
Academy fellows attending the 1999 Annual Meeting will find some important changes, according to Richard F. Kyle, MD, chairman of the Committee on the Annual Meeting.
"During the past few years, our committee has spent a great deal of time working on ways to improve the Annual Meeting," Dr. Kyle said. "We have restructured many of our goals and as a result, we have developed some new ideas to meet members' needs."
At the 1998 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, attendees were asked to complete questionnaires. "We learned a lot from those surveys, and many of the new ideas implemented this year result from members' answers to those questions," Dr. Kyle said.
First, the committee will offer a new way to make it easier for members to schedule their time spent at the Annual Meeting by introducing the "Subspecialty Guide to the Annual Meeting." The subspecialty guide will be sent to all attendees with their final registration packet materials.
"It is designed to be the ultimate quick reference guide," said S. Terry Canale, MD, Academy second vice president and chairman of the Committee on Instructional Courses. "When you want to know what is going on in your specialty on a particular day and time, the guide will contain that information for you."
The new guide will include daily programming of the 11 subspecialty areas covered at the Annual Meeting. Each area will be colored coded and placed on a two-page spread for help in tracking a particular subject area on a specific day.
Second, the committee has developed a transaction booklet to make it easier for attendees to better organize all the educational materials they receive during the Annual Meeting. The new booklet will contain all the abstracts of scientific papers and scientific and poster exhibits presented at the Annual Meeting. It also will contain handouts from all of the faculty presentations made at scientific symposia. The transaction booklet only can be obtained onsite at the Annual Meeting.
The schedule of the Annual Meeting also will change slightly in 1999 with the introduction of evening educational activities.
The Academy will offer two evening instructional courses-CPT Coding and Documentation Guidelines for Orthopaedic Surgeons and Physician-Owned Surgery Centers-on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Scientific and poster exhibits, Multimedia Education Center and Resource Center also will be open on Thursday evening until 7 p.m. An "Up Close and Personal" session, formerly called "Ask the Professor: Case Controversies," will be scheduled on Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m.
"Evening programming on Thursday allows everyone to get a 'head start' with their educational activities," Dr. Canale said. "By the second day, everyone should have a better idea about what other sessions they want to attend."
Also new to the 1999 Annual Meeting will be lifestyle instructional courses on Sunday on subjects such as stress management and balancing a medical career and family responsibilities.
More time will be devoted to discussion during the scientific paper presentations in 1999. Eight papers per session will be read. Presenters will be given seven minutes to detail their papers, and another seven minutes will be allotted for discussion among the audience, presenters and panel members. (In 1998, 12 papers were presented in each session.)
"We feel more time for discussion will heighten the educational experience," said Dempsey S. Springfield, MD, chairman of the Program Committee. "Everyone now gets an opportunity to participate."
In 1999, instructional courses will be offered in four different time slots per day; past Annual Meeting instructional course schedules offered sessions three times per day. "Adding an extra time slot opens everyone's day to do more than what they might have done at past meetings," Dr. Canale said.
Another important part of the Annual Meeting always has been the Spouse/Guest Program. It gets a new name-the Extended Program-at the 1999 meeting. All registrants will be able to take advantage of the special activities and events scheduled at the Annual Meeting's host city-Anaheim, Calif. Registrants of the Extended Program also can register for the lifestyle instructional courses on Sunday. (A special Extended Program booklet listing activities and events will be sent to all Academy members along with registration packets in October.)