I'm not a doctor, but I've heard dozens—if not hundreds—of physicians pontificate behind a microphone during question-and-answer sessions at the numerous healthcare conferences I've attended over the years.
Texting is golden
Some of these docs can be profound, provocative or amusing, but many can just suck the energy out of a room with droning and repetitive rants. And although it didn't get mentioned in any year-in-review wrap-ups that I read, one of the most significant developments on the 2010 healthcare conference front may have been an experiment at the Medical Group Management Association's annual meeting in October in which microphones were replaced with text messages during question-and-answer sessions.
I'm not a big fan of texting. I believe cops or other security personnel should be able to administer electrical shocks to anyone they see typing or reading messages on their mind-control devices while slowly walking up crowded subway stairways (especially if I'm stuck behind them). I was also worried that the MGMA's move may kill off some of the give-and-take spontaneity that occurs once a speaker turns off the PowerPoint.
But I think it actually had the opposite effect.
“There's always one in every crowd who really doesn't want to ask a question; they just want to get a microphone in their hand and make a speech,” MGMA President and CEO William Jessee said. "But, with only 140 characters, you can't make a speech."
Jessee acknowledges that there was a concern that the new format wouldn't go over with the MGMA's "middle-aged audience." But he reports that, at least at the sessions he moderated, the attendees were "texting like crazy.
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