Viewpoint: On deciding whether to attend a conference

March 5, 2010

Spring comes, the blood stirs, and physicians' thoughts turn to conventions.

Remember when travel used to be fun?

And yet, spring comes, the blood stirs, and physicians' thoughts turn to conventions. For all the education and information available online, sometimes there is no substitute for a hotel conference room and a PowerPoint presentation.

Medical Economics wants to make the decision easier. In this issue, we offer a guide on what to consider when deciding whether to attend a conference. We also examine the trend of linking celebrities and diseases, not only in pharmaceutical commercials, but at conferences where they share the stage with researchers and doctors. Are physicians immune to star power?

Rest assured, this issue has plenty for the physicians who are staying home.

The Action for Outcomes series on cardiovascular disease and women continues with an article about the best ways to educate female patients about this No. 1 killer.

Being a physician has never been easy, but it shouldn't be dangerous.

Any physician who has had to deal with an irrational patient demanding painkillers felt a chill in December when Dennis Sandlin, MD, was shot and killed in a rural Kentucky clinic, allegedly by a drug addict enraged that Sandlin insisted on a urine test before prescribing painkillers.

Another Kentucky physician, Gregory Hood, MD, a member of Medical Economics' editorial advisory board, writes about the terrible toll the killing has taken on patients and physicians alike.

On another note, have you ever wondered what it would be like to make yourself available to your patients at all times? Concierge practice, you're thinking. Not in this case. Christine Meyer, MD, handed out her cell phone number to patients a few years ago, and the results inspired her to take other steps to make her practice more open and accessible.

Lastly, a practice management consultant explains an investment opportunity, largely limited to doctors, that could yield impressive returns.