The MECA Member Section Aims to Meet Members’ Needs Through 2020 Programming

By Allison Kickel, Brittany Puster and Caroline Pardo, MECA Member Section co-leads

The Medical Education Company Alliance (MECA) Member Section held its live annual meeting in conjunction with the Alliance Annual Conference in January 2020 (which seems like a very, very long time ago!). We hosted the inaugural MECA Poster Gallery, which featured peer-reviewed posters by MECA members who had been accepted for presentation within the larger Alliance Annual Conference; all MECA members were invited to vote for the “Poster of Distinction” recognition, which was awarded at the meeting. Our well-attended live meeting also featured a session on “What you need to know about MIPS and MACRA in 15 minutes” by Amanda Kaczerski (Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning) as well as a panel discussion on digital technology and continuing education led by guests Dustin Ensign (Grail), Dr. Steve Kawczak (The Cleveland Clinic) and Brett Gordeau (Simumetrix). Our sincerest thanks to all of the speakers and support in helping us execute a valuable meeting for our MECA colleagues.

As a follow-up to the MECA Member Section meeting, we surveyed our members related to the topics they found most valuable from our recent member meeting, and the majority said they valued seeing the results of our late-2019 MECA benchmark survey regarding what medical education company Alliance members prioritize to learn about within Alliance meetings and forums, what their key challenges and barriers are, and what they’d like to hear more about in 2020. We shared these data at the recent MECA Member Section meeting, and we have shared the presentation with the Alliance Board leadership as well.

In planning for 2020 activities among the MECA section, we implemented a post-Alliance Annual Conference survey of our MECA members, and the findings from this survey are consistent with what we heard from our members in our benchmarking survey: The overwhelming top topics of interest to MECA members are related to meeting grantors’ varied outcomes requirements, updates to the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support and what this means to medical education companies, and addressing challenges in multi-support and patient grant strategies. One note here, though, is that these data were collected prior to the brunt of COVID-19 impacts. 

Following are additional “hot topics” identified by MECA member section members:

  • Meeting grantors’ requirements for outcomes reporting, including higher-level outcomes
  • Best practices in designing and delivering provider and patient education within a single initiative
  • Use of technology tools or innovations to improve learner engagement, outcomes and learning design
  • Key topics and best practices from other Alliance segments (medical societies, academic medicine, commercial interests, technology providers) to break down Alliance silos and drive innovation 
  • Best practices in needs assessment and analysis
  • Understanding real-world data and how to apply to CME
  • The evolving professional development needs of interprofessional healthcare providers and how CPD can help them meet their needs

As the MECA Member Section leads, we are listening! We asked our membership again in May 2020, in the midst of our COVID-19 experience, how we could best serve our MECA members. We had a mixed response, with some members saying they’d like to have a summer meeting and others stating they were overwhelmed with work, school and childcare responsibilities and would like a break for a bit. We heard you. We have postponed our MECA Member Section mid-year meeting to August, and we think the agenda is worth the wait!

Please join us on Monday, Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (invites are being sent to all MECA Member Section members, but reach out if you didn’t receive or want further details). Our agenda includes:

  • Welcome: Wow! The first half of 2020 was certainly noteworthy!
  • Grantor Panel: Grantors’ update on live/virtual IME program policies and impact
    • Panelists:
      • Cody Ortmann, Takeda
      • Steve Gallagher, Janssen
      • Shunda Irons-Brown, Novo Nordisk
      • Sue McGuinness, Astra Zeneca
      • Anthia Mandarakas, Regeneron
  • MECA Member Section Q&A

We are excited to host a panel of multiple grantors who will help us understand grantor policies and perspectives on live meetings vs. virtual meetings for IME in 2020 and beyond. A Q&A will be open to all attendees. So come, learn and ask questions.

If you are interested in volunteering to help us plan or implement a future program, please reach out to us, too!

Further, we are planning a more comprehensive MECA benchmarking survey that we ultimately aim to submit for peer-reviewed publication. If you’d like to be a part of this project, please let us know.

We hope you’ll join us in August for our Member Section meeting!


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