Central to the ACR mission is the creation of exceptional learning opportunities for our members. Most important among these is the ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting. This year the ACR focused not only on identifying the best science in the field of rheumatology but also on presenting it in the most accessible, user-friendly manner. Over the years I have heard many colleagues describe the meeting as an “endurance sport.” But, if you were one of the 15,000 meeting attendees this year, you would have noticed that, through the use of technology, it is no longer a requirement to have the stamina of an Olympic athlete in order to take advantage of all the meeting has to offer. Modifications are made to the annual meeting every year, based on attendee comments and updated technology; however, this year, the ACR made major changes and launched several new initiatives.
Learn, in order to teach and to practice.
—Talmud Rabbinical writings
(A.D. 1st-6th cent)
The enhancements were evident as soon as you arrived at the convention center. The new barcode registration process made collecting your badge and materials quick and painless. In fact, during the peak check-in periods, the recorded wait time was less than four minutes. The age-old challenge of choosing which sessions to attend was alleviated this year by the expanded Encore Theatre and, the newest benefit, ACR SessionSelect. The expanded Encore Theatre provided the option to relax in your hotel room and watch a session that was recorded on the previous day. However, ACR SessionSelect and its star, Stanley Cohen, MD, stole the show at this year’s meeting. This new benefit provides online access to more than 90% of the 2008 educational sessions for one year and includes two viewing options: webcasts and downloadable vodcasts. In case you are one of the few attendees who have not yet taken advantage of this complimentary benefit, I encourage you to log in and view the sessions you missed or get together with your colleagues and incorporate ACR SessionSelect into your local educational activities.
The EMR Challenge was a new and popular session where EMR vendors were invited to demonstrate how effectively their systems are able to respond to the demands of a busy rheumatology practice. This session also presented an opportunity for rheumatologists to advise EMR vendors regarding the kinds of features that would be particularly useful for rheumatologists. This important dialogue will continue in future meetings and will, hopefully, lead to improved EMR tools for rheumatology practice.