What to Look for In a Worthwhile Medical Conference

In a recent survey of more than 5,000 physicians called the Practice Profitability Index (PPI), 42% of physicians said they obtain information on improving their practice’s operations by attending conferences, making medical conferences the second most valuable source of information cited.

But deciding which medical conference to attend can be a difficult choice. And unless you double as a big-shot hedge fund manager, chances are you probably only have a finite amount of time and money dedicated to attending such events. So how do you choose a conference that’ll give you the best bang for your buck?

Today, we’ll explore the most important factors to consider when deciding whether a particular conference is a worthy investment.

Number of attendees – Not every medical conference will be like the annual HIMSS Conference with tens of thousands of attendees, but even local conferences should have solid attendance relative to scale. More attendees lead to more networking opportunities, so ask the event’s coordinators if the conference had a good attendance record in the past. This is the best indicator of future turnout.

Level of establishment – If a conference has been running for years on end, it’s a good sign that physicians are obtaining valuable information from it. New conferences can be valuable too but require more research before committing.

Recommended by peers – According to the PPI, the only source of information more valuable than conferences to physicians were other physicians. A colleague that knows you well will likely recommend a conference that best suits your needs.

Varied formats – Sitting at a conference listening to panel discussions all day – or for multiple days – can be a dull experience. Review the conference’s itinerary and look for assorted formats like one-on-ones, expert roundtables, or even social media meetups.

CME creditsNearly all 50 states require physicians to acquire Continuing Medical Education credits. If you’re going to invest in a medical conference, it might as well help you obtain CME credits too.

Location – Out of state conferences can cost you a plane ticket, hotel stay, and time away from your practice. Some of the large national conferences, however, are well worth the investment.

Price – This may be the most important factor of all. Some conferences only cost $30 to attend, while others cost well over $200. Take into account the conference’s price with the aforementioned factors to determine if it’s a worthwhile investment.

In the end, deciding whether or not to attend a medical conference is a decision unique to each physician. What may prove valuable to you may not seem important to a peer. Make sure to figure out the cost-benefit ratio before committing yourself to a conference.

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