New tracks bring focus to HM18 program


The theme for HM18 could well be “in with the new, and in with the new.”

Conference planners have managed to pack HM18 with five new tracks: Great Debate, Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant (NP/PA), Palliative Care, Seasoning Your Career, and a new Career Development workshop track. And they did this while eliminating only one track that was on the schedule last year – Technology – and without adding any extra days to the meeting.

Dr. Kathleen Finn, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Dr. Kathleen Finn

The trick was including more half-day tracks. With more tracks in smaller time chunks, the schedule provides more flexibility, and attendees have more choices to find what they’re looking for, said Kathleen Finn, MD, MPhil, SFHM, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the HM18 course director.

“We decided, since there were a bunch of themes that we really wanted to cover, we would do half-day tracks. The shorter tracks also are a way to gauge interest in a topic without making a big commitment to it,” Dr. Finn said. “The grouping of topics in smaller tracks in the Day-at-a-Glance helps people easily see a collection of lectures or a theme they might want to attend.”

While choosing themes for the conference, the planners were trying to stay true to their own theme: timeliness.

Assistant course director Dustin Smith, MD, SFHM, an associate professor of medicine at Emory University, Atlanta, said much of the information for this year’s conference came from the 2017 annual meeting, including attendance at sessions, speaker reviews, and session ratings.

“It’s building on momentum from the previous meeting,” he said. “Sometimes we choose things to offer that we know are going to go well, and sometimes we choose things that we hope go well, and all of a sudden we see [that they] go very, very well.” For instance, he said, the topic of sepsis was so popular last year that it has its own pre-course this year.


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