Medical Meetings: Docs Speak Out

Apr 01, 2012
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Meeting professionals who work in the pharmaceutical, bio, or medical device field need to know how today's challenges and changes affect the healthcare professionals who attend their events. But how often do they get candid feedback from HCPs that they can use to improve their meetings?

They had just that opportunity at the 4th Annual West Coast Life Sciences Meeting Management Forum. The forum, held in December in San Diego and co-organized annually by Medical Meetings and The Center for Business Intelligence, kicked off with a panel of practicing physicians who shared their perspectives on the life sciences industry. The panel, which was moderated by Benjamin Comer, senior editor with Pharmaceutical Executive magazine, included David Bazzo, MD, clinical professor of family medicine with the University of California San Diego; Enoch Choi, MD, partner, Palo Alto Medical Foundation; and John Kusske, MD, professor emeritus and interim chair, neurological surgery, University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

Here's how they said federal, state, industry, and corporate compliance issues are affecting their ability to meet their educational needs, how technology is driving change in their meeting habits, and what motivates them to participate in pharmaceutical company meetings.


Comer began by quizzing the docs on how they expect the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, will affect their practices.

Bazzo, whose background is in primary care, said those in his field generally view healthcare reform as positive, because "it will help enable patients to come in for preventive care, rather than wait until they're in critical need of care." This, he said, should help to bring down the still-soaring cost of healthcare in the U.S. However, he said, "Some of the things that come with the healthcare reform act are a bit of a black box for us."

Choi, who is a provider in a multispecialty outpatient physician group, said, "We're hopeful it will be beneficial." Kusske said that neurosurgeons, too, generally welcome the healthcare reform act. "We hope it will cover patients who hadn't previously had coverage," he said.

How Do Docs Learn about new regs?
However, they said, when it comes to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act provision of the act, things look a bit murkier. The so-called Sunshine Act, which calls for pharmaceutical companies to report what they spend per physician—including their meetings where HCPs are present—starting in 2013, may mean less pharma involvement in physician education, said Choi. As Krusske said, after having listened to the pharma meeting managers talk about the Sunshine Act during his time at the conference, he couldn't help but conclude, "You're all in for a bumpy ride." As will be medical education as a whole, he added, predicting that "Medical education will take a huge cut, and payment for graduate education will disappear. This will be a huge issue for GME in 2014."

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