By: Vivek Shukla
The doctrine of doing the right thing with cent per cent commitment and not wishing for the fruits holds good for having Continuing Medical Education (CME) meetings. However, most of the time, we are so bent upon convincing others of our abilities and facilities that we lose focus of the very purpose of a CME gettogether.
We must look to educate the fellow doctors about new developments or new facilities at our hospitals in a way that does not seem like ‘blowing our own trumpet.’ The purpose is to educate others by imparting genuinely useful information. For instance, if you run a cardiac hospital, you want to educate the audience about the advantages and disadvantages of the various kinds of stents being used in the industry presently. Then you may tell them why you are using a particular kind of stent at your hospital and not just what all is being used.
People would appreciate your efforts if you are genuinely looking to share information with them for their benefit. They will view you with respect, unlike the way they view the people who throw drinks and dinner party in the name of CME to generate referrals.
- Make the event as unique as possible. Do something different. With the amount of similar CME meets happening these days, the doctors are losing interest. So unique and interesting gatherings will be more than welcome.
- For example, you may want to insert a small quiz at the end of the presentation and give away prizes to people who answer the questions.
- See that all the invitees register themselves as they arrive. The registration can be done on a computer or a register.
- Basically, you should know who all came, what their specialities are, what are their birth and anniversary dates, what are their phone numbers, etc. You could keep in touch with them after they have attended so that you remain on their minds even after you have left.
- Make sure that you send out your brochures and other materials with the invitation cards. Don’t wait to hand over the material to them when they come. As it is, 20-30 per cent of your invitees may not even come to the congregation. Of course, you should give them the material when they arrive as well. More than that, you must also give them a small token like a memento as a thank you gesture.
- All the people who attend the CME must get a mail from you within a week thanking them for the time they gave you. This serves as a reminder and helps boost your goodwill. Not only this, you could go a step further. You may write to the people who were invited but did not show up. You could tell them about what happened in the evening and that you understand that they could not make it because of some valid reasons.
- During the CME meet there must be an informal mixing-up exercise with people. You must make sure that you reach as many people as possible and that you are viewed as an approachable and a humble person. Try to know people by their names and address them by their name whenever possible. Invite them to have a look at your hospital. Tell everyone you meet that their patients will get your immediate personal attention if they reach you.
- Make sure all the audio-visual equipment is in excellent working condition. It is rather embarrassing trying to figure out the heads and tails of the projector if it gets stuck in the middle of a presentation.
- Take questions at the end of a presentation. Encourage people to ask you as many questions as they wish. The key to winning the confidence of an audience is by answering their queries.
- Add a bit of humour to the content you are presenting. Make it interesting. Make sure that your audience does not get bored. Practice your presentation till you know it like the back of your hand.
- Lastly, provide everyone with a copy of the material you presented. Remember, it is about sharing educative information.
CME is a tool which can be instrumental in spreading new information to doctors in smaller set-ups and towns. In the process it can also add to the brand equity of a hospital. Getting referrals is an important ‘spin off’, but it should be viewed as only a spin off.
Note: The author is health care and marketing consultant with Marketing Plans, Dharmasala, Himachal Pradesh. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org