Participatory & cozy

Chamber music or full orchestra? Both provide a rewarding, but different, experience. Last week the Cardiovascular Service Line Symposium in Atlanta provided an experience akin to chamber music, with a program full of interactive presentations.

The symposium drew about 160 cardiovascular physicians, service line managers, administrators and others in the June 12-14 program. Most sessions included segments in which the presenters asked questions and the audience responded using an electronic control.

“What’s important about this (event) is its many voices,” Suzette Jaskie, president and CEO of MedAxiom Consulting, said during the introduction.

Those voices ranged from physicians and executives who had negotiated a strategic partnership between a practice and a healthcare system to strategic leaders and more.  Jaskie also provided a practical take-away presentation on ways to lower costs in a cardiovascular service line. Some were not novel, she pointed out, but effective.

One benefit of a smaller event is the ability to rub shoulders during and after presentations. Sitting next to a manager, I learned more about the day-to-day challenges of running a service line. Out in the hallways, I touched base with presenters to gain more insights and share ideas.

That is the chamber music experience: close, collegial and conversational. Larger venues such as the scientific sessions for the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and other societies also provide value with their often broad sweep of topics, lectures and late-breaking clinical trials. But like symphony from a full orchestra, the voices are many, the experience more formal and the ambience less intimate.

Oh, those voices at the symposium? Occasionally they included the likes of Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, who filled in while the audience responded to questions. But ultimately, everyone was heard; the surveys were done in real time, providing results instantly. A nice divertimento in a fine program.

Candace Stuart

Cardiovascular Business, editor