American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®


Interested in Annual Session updates? Try the Web

From the December 1997 ACP Observer, copyright 1997 by the American College of Physicians.

By Chris Dwyer

Internists who want to keep up with the latest in clinical developments but can't make it to ACP's Annual Session have an electronic alternative: Virtual Annual Session.

Virtual Annual Session is a members-only feature of ACP Online (www.acponline. org) that provides informal reports on scientific sessions. The reports are written by ACP members who attend the meeting and are posted online within a day or two of the presentation.

Virtual Annual Session, now in its fourth year, also includes electronic versions of the handouts from the popular "Update" sessions, which review key journal articles in various subspecialties. In addition, Virtual Annual Session allows members to ask clinical faculty questions about their scheduled topic—before the meeting takes place. Last year, for example, John G. Bartlett, FACP, chief of infectious diseases at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, answered questions online.

In 1997, a dozen clinician-reporters wrote summaries of 30 sessions, including "Managing the Patient With HIV Infection," "Shared Responsibility: Generalist and Subspecialist—Diabetes" and "Evaluating and Managing the Geriatric Patient." (All of 1997's summaries are available to ACP members at

Virtual Annual Session reports typically feature:

  • Short summaries of five to 10 major points from the presentation.
  • A one- or two-sentence summary that describes the clinical applicability of the session.
  • Up to five key references cited by the presenter or panel.

Virtual Annual Session can also help give internists who attend the meeting information from sessions they can't attend. "It's impossible to get to every session of interest," explained Jerome A. Osheroff, FACP. "The Virtual Annual Session reports are an excellent way to pick up the pearls from sessions you missed."

Chris Dwyer is Clinical Information Management Program Associate in ACP's Education Division. He can be reached at

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