Leading from Where We Are: Reflecting on the 10th Annual Industry Summit

By the AIS Event Committee : John Ruggiero, Ph.D., MPA, CHCP, Genentech, Chair; Anthia Mandarakas, Sanofi US, Co-Chair; Patricia Jassak, MS, RN, CHCP, FACEHP, Astellas, Chair, Educational Committee; Susan Connelly, PharmD, MBA, CHCP, FACEHP, Pfizer, IACE Membership Section Lead; Christine Berger, Celgene; Shunda Irons-Brown, PhD, MBA, CHCP, Novo Nordisk US; Sue McGuinness, Ph.D., CHCP, AstraZeneca; Suzette Miller, MBA, CHCP, Sandoz; Tina Wright, Otsuka

Alliance_153369_JuneAlmanac_leadingcallout1.jpgPhiladelphia was once again host to the Alliance Industry Summit from May 22-25, 2017, attended by more than 310 participants and speakers representing a diverse set of healthcare stakeholders. This year’s meeting theme, “Lead from Where You Are,” became the reinforced faculty message to encourage stakeholders to apply the power of education to improve healthcare through quantified clinical metrics. Using a purposeful meeting framework around the 2016 lessons of the National Learning Competencies, and structuring the sessions into three subthemes — defining industry’s role, propelling our strategic vision, and learning continuity to impact patient care — continuing medical education (CME) and continuing professional development (CPD) stakeholders interacted with one another to share best practices related to the support of education provided at the point of care delivery.

To do so effectively, attendees and speakers were encouraged to recognize the following converging industry trends that drive us toward education in an evolving healthcare landscape:

  • Medical progress and consistent data overload requires that we transform the patient experience through education that translates evidence into clinical practice.
  • Increased competition necessitates that we build and maintain competitive excellence through compliance, amplified impact and enhance clinical value.
  • Ongoing complexity suggests we be open to agility, adapting our business to merge science, people and culture to address current marketplace needs.

Speakers gravitated toward these developments suggesting how our community can adapt through small but significant progressive actions. In summary, the following messages resonated throughout the meeting as in-focus lessons to guide us.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Peter Long, president of the Blue Foundation of California, reminded us that care models and educational tools must extend beyond medical care to social and behavioral factors. His suggestion: Action is needed now to design and support models that address value-based metrics. In essence, we haven’t just moved from healthcare 1.0 to healthcare 2.0, we are quickly moving into healthcare 3.0, and we need to adapt.


Karen Doss-Thomas shared a touching story that demonstrated her appreciation for the impact that her physician’s continuing education made on her husband’s care. Inserting herself into a physician-to-physician conversation at the most unexpected but opportune time, and armed with lessons from education she and her husband’s physician had received, Karen found herself negotiating for her husband’s continued care when many around her believed every option had been exhausted. As a result, Karen's husband continues to live a productive life with Karen and their two children. Her message to our community: As you plan or support the education of the future, it is crucial that we consider the patient and caregiver goals as underpinnings for objectives as assessment.

To complement that suggestion, Haleh Kadkhoda (Medscape), Susan Grady (Medscape), Lisa Calderwood (WebMD), Jerry Cahill (Boomer Esiason Foundation) and James Testaverde (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America) demonstrated the value that advocacy and independent medical education collaborations bring to healthcare improvement initiatives in order to enhance patient outcomes, encouraging each of us to be open to partnerships.

Leading a dynamic panel of leaders in their own rights, Sue McGuiness (Astra Zeneca) helped her panel (Gail Triggs, Jill Erickson, Pamela Mason, Rejean Rochette and Debra Janiszewski) define the tenets of leadership, demonstrating how each of us can truly lead from where we are by making small but significant commitments toward leadership competencies: building personal character and integrity, personal capability, achieving results, leading change and continuous development of interpersonal skills.

Finally, Josh Rubin and Dr. Charles Friedman of University of Michigan’s Learning Health System (LHS) introduced the concept of LHSs that have the capacity to continuously study and improve themselves, illustrating why infrastructures — that include people, process, policy and technology — are necessary to support LHSs and improve health. This will require a new generation of health “infrastructuralists” whose training will integrate information science, educational science and implementation science.

The aforementioned focus areas were further complemented by excellent clinical education presentations that demonstrated learning continuity is better achieved through collaboration. These presenters exhibited that education can be leveraged as a tool to address localized, systems-based gaps that not only concentrate on knowledge acquisition, but can also result in clinical changes that help shape the needs of patient communities and healthcare system improvement goals. Dr. Linda Sutton and Kerri Dalton (both from the Duke University Health System) first presented data on how process improvement based education can drive adoption of improved clinical practices for breast cancer patients by including documented shared decision making and improved guideline concordance measures. Using baseline measures for Crohn’s disease, Jacqueline Brooks and David Clausen (both from RMEI Education) and Karyn Ruiz-Cordell (RealCME) presented ways that collaborating across stakeholders measure significant change across a system. Similarly, by using a baseline ever so slight lack of concordance to stroke guidelines, Pam Peters (Medscape) and Dr. Ronan O’Beirne (University of Alabama) demonstrated how optimization across system stakeholders progresses quality standards even when a system is already performing well. Kathleen Moreo (PRIME) and Victoria Hunter, BA, CASAC, (Lead Counselor, Chemical Dependency Program, Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center Inc.) finally provided a powerful presentation that exemplified improvement in action when collaborative learning between substance abuse patients and their clinicians are at the pinnacle of addiction care plans.


To accomplish an understanding that our value propels our vision, no industry summit would be successful without optimal sessions that speak to the development and implementation of educational strategies.

First and foremost, Best-in-Class winners Karyn Ruiz-Cordell, MA, Ph.D, Steven Haimowitz, MD of RealCME, and Dana Frazier, CHCP of Boston University, presented their activity titled, “Utilizing Advanced Analytic Phases to Improve Education and Outcomes for CE Focused on Opioid Induced Constipation,” including a review of their outcomes. These providers were joined onstage by Hilary Schmidt, PhD, of the Calibre Institute, who moderated the session and gave a brief objective evaluation of the instructional design of the initiative, outlining critical success factors. As well, the supporters of the activity provided insights regarding how they were able to communicate the success of the activity and support their strategic value proposition to internal stakeholders. This panel discussion underscored the importance of uncovering the root cause of a healthcare gap, aligning the educational intervention to address the underlying cause of the gap through innovative instructional design, and related the importance of thorough outcomes design, to provide an ability to collect meaningful data that can be communicated to all stakeholders. Perspectives from the accreditor, provider and supporter perspectives were all represented with an opportunity for questions and answers from the audience. The winning poster is also available online.

Directly following the Best-in-Class outcomes panel discussion, all AIS participants were invited to review 10 top-ranking poster submissions and vote on the activity that also represented a Best-in-Class activity and outcomes. During the reception, people were invited to review and evaluate well-designed, successfully executed educational interventions, exchange ideas and ask questions. More than 100 votes were collected by the end of the evening, and the “People’s Choice Award” was presented to FACTORx, Improve CME and Penn State College of Medicine for their initiative titled, “Objectively Measured Improvements in Diagnostic Performance Amongst 1,828 CME Participants.” This forum was both fun and informative as the AIS community engaged in focusing on critical success factors that can be explored in future initiatives, improving the way that education is designed in the future. In addition to instructional design and outcomes design for future initiatives, however, it continues to be important to understand other factors that will impact healthcare.

Tom Sullivan and Andrew Rosenberg shared recent updates from Washington, D.C., to help our community understand how the potential actions of the new Trump administration may impact the decisions that are woven into our actions. Government agencies are still acknowledging the importance of continuing medical education as an important vehicle to improve patient care. The Benchmarking Survey working group once again helped us to compare practices across industry. Finally, five TED Talk-style conversations provided novel ways for our values to be propelled by 1) addressing local needs in national CME programming; 2) including the patient voice from planning to evaluation (using lymphoma education as an example); 3) demonstrating the value of CME from a healthcare provider’s perspective; 4) suggestions on how to get multiple specialists working together; and 5) using data visualization for internal communications and reports.

These insights were immediately applied during the following Mock Grant Part I session, in which industry participants developed an educational strategy and providers were in turn developing proposals to be addressed at the Mock Grant Review session. During the Mock Grant Review Part 2, participants witnessed the way an educational strategy impacts the grants selected for approval, as well as gained insight into the background discussions that could occur given the audience generated strategies and proposals. For supporters, the key takeaway was consideration of the educational strategy elements will help to achieve your educational goal in a scalable way.  For providers, a key takeaway was to remember that scalability can be interpreted differently and to keep in mind that review panels do not look favorably on key components being cut out of grant proposals when full funding is not available. This is particularly important when proposing multi-supported activities. 

Posters and presentations are available on the AIS Meeting Library Website for all attendees. The agenda is also available online for all members.

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