Maximize Your Learning Events With These Best Practices
By EWA MATUSZEWSKI
I will admit to being taken aback by how many positive comments I received on my last column: Don’t Get Trained – Learn! I appreciate all of the feedback and your interest. I hope I’m not wearing out my welcome by staying on this topic for June as well.
While it may be unusual for a healthcare executive to spend so much time in curricula development, it is a significant part of my work life. I attribute that not only to my love of learning but the sheer volume of new information coming out daily on health and well-being (and the billing codes to charge for them!) For better or for worse – but mainly for better, because it keeps things fresh and focused on patient care– those of us who work in health care administration or leadership are inundated with the latest news, trends, and research. But we can’t disseminate it all ourselves – or understand the nuances. We need to engage with colleagues, experts and authorities from respected organizations to gain additional perspectives and digest what it all means.
To that end, I think it helps to keep in mind some best practices prior to organizing or attending your next learning session. First, the subject matter is key – and it has to have an audience. Select a topic that will have relatively broad appeal so that even if some registrants drop out, there is still a critical mass of 50 or more participants.
Virtual events are here to stay, but there are definitely advantages to in-person learning events: more engagement between in-person human beings, less distractions from home or office, and a greater commitment to attend something one has already paid for, just to name a few. For a hybrid option, consider offering additional learning and engagement opportunities for in-person attendees only. Some conversations are more actionable and applicable without a computer.
Go it alone. While it’s not unusual for a small group of individuals from the same organization to attend an event, don’t hesitate to go solo. You’ll be forced to meet new people, share ideas promote your organization and potentially discover opportunities for engagement beyond the conference, perhaps a formal partnership or a new collaboration on an important grant that needs a variety of organizations involved.
When possible, set your event eight months to one year in advance for proper planning. Medical Network One’s next Health Information Exchange (HIE) conference, titled It’s About HIE Innovation, is April 28, 2023. I’ve already got a yes from a few notable speakers, which leads me into my next best practice: try to get speakers that the audience trusts and looks to for both inspiration and applicable information – and don’t be afraid of the big names.
When I collaborated with Oakland University’s School of Health Sciences in 2017 to put on the state’s first major social determinants of health symposium, I reached out to upstream health and social determinants of health movement guru Rishi Manchanda, M.D. via Twitter to invite him to serve as a speaker. Not only did he say yes – he flew here from California to participate; it was his first visit to the great state of Michigan. He’s been invited back to be the keynote speaker at the aforementioned 2023 HIE event to speak not only on the social determinants of health, but to check the “temperature” of upstream care in metro Detroit as a follow-up to his first visit.
If you’re interested in dipping your toe into the presenter scene for the first time and have an innovative success story to share at the conference, let me know. That’s another best practice: don’t overlook vetted first-timers who express enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience-based insights on a trending topic.
In the meantime, the next conference I’ll be attending is the Michigan Family Medicine Conference and Expo on Mackinac Island July 7-10. How about you?