Managed care practice, more on Annual Session agenda
Internists attending this year's Annual Session will have the chance to participate in discussions about internal medicine's most complex issues such as the interaction of general and subspecialist internists, end-of-life care and practice under managed care.
The 78th Annual Session, which will be held in Philadelphia March 22 through 25, will help physicians understand the clinical and social challenges they face in practice while at the same time updating their clinical knowledge, explained Herbert S. Waxman, FACP, the College's Senior Vice President for Education.
"Annual Session combines two things," Dr. Waxman said. "It provides continuing education about medicine, and it addresses how the world is changing to offer internists a way to deal with the changes."
Here are some of the anticipated highlights of this year's meeting:
Generalist/subspecialist relations. One discussion certain to generate controversy will examine the interactions between general internists and subspecialists in the care of patients with diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, depression or congestive heart failure. A series of presentations entitled "Shared Responsibilities" will feature a panel of general and subspecialist internists presenting their perspectives on appropriate care for patients with conditions that a general or subspecialty internist might treat.
Educational tracks.The College's educational tracks—individual courses grouped in a single track—highlight some of the forces that are changing medical practice.
- The track on practice environment examines opportunities for internists in managed care, as well as the implications of capitation and other forms of payment.
- The track on computers in medicine gives physicians hands-on experience in using a variety of hardware and software. This year's track includes courses on electronically managing patient records and locating medical information.
- The new track on women's health includes general courses in primary care procedures, education on caring for women at different stages of life and discussions of special issues faced by women with common medical conditions.
- With ABIM's first group of time-limited certificates nearing expiration, the College continues to beef up its courses and educational track on recertification. Physicians can prepare for recertification by signing up for either the College's pre-Session course, "The Core of Internal Medicine: A Recertification Preparation Course," offered March 20-21, or by following the "Recertification" educational track. Courses in the educational track will address the recertification requirements, preparation tips and test-taking and study skills.
- The College's update program and educational track on primary care problems such as chest pain, diabetes mellitus, HIV and elderly care addresses a growing need in the field as more subspecialty internists convert to primary care physicians under managed care contracts. The pre-Session course, "Common Problems in Primary Care" will offer an overall review of primary care skills.
"There's been a real call for this," Dr. Waxman said. "When physicians get new managed care contracts, they may need to add to their skills to fit the requirements of the contract. Internists who serve as primary care physicians may be required to perform gynecological procedures or other things they haven't done since medical school."
End-of-life care. End-of-life care, a topic that Dr. Waxman said has received little formal attention at past Annual Sessions, is scheduled to be the focus of numerous courses at this year's meeting.
ACP Learning Center. Attendees can also update their skills at the ACP Learning Center. The center, which includes computer-based information, medical references and training in clinical skills, will be twice as big as last year. The computer center will provide computer guidance for beginners and advanced users on PCs and Macs. A librarian from the National Library of Medicine will help attendees access medical resources online and locate textbooks, managed care reference materials and information in MKSAP 10 and subspecialty MKSAPs. In the clinical skills area, internists can examine standardized patients and view slide shows and videos on procedures, history-taking and counseling skills.
Most courses at this year's Annual Session will be available on a walk-in basis, without tickets. "The sessions will be mostly small groups and the information will be concentrated and crystallized," Dr. Waxman said.
For registration information, call ACP's customer service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600; fax 215-351-2799; or mail, R0460, Annual Session Registration, American College of Physicians, P.O. Box 7777, Philadelphia, Pa. 19175.
The keynote. Jordan J. Cohen, MACP, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), is scheduled to deliver the keynote address, titled "Catching the Breeze," at Opening Ceremony on Saturday, March 22 at 10 a.m. Before heading AAMC, Dr. Cohen was dean of the medical school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and president of the medical staff and director of the University Medical Center.
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