Ask the CEO of any company in any industry, and they will tell you that having a skilled, educated, and adaptable workforce is essential.  This is especially true for the healthcare industry, because healthcare is continuously evolving, and technologies considered best practice today could change drastically in just a few years. In the article “Challenges and Opportunities Facing Medical Education,” Dr. Peter Densen states, “It is estimated that the doubling time of medical knowledge in 1950 was 50 years; in 1980, 7 years; and in 2010, 3.5 years. In 2020 it is projected to be 0.2 years — just 73 days.” Healthcare professionals have to regularly keep up with new techniques and technologies and expand their knowledge and skills – which means continuous education is a must. 

In a typical year, one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) is through industry conferences. 2020 is not a typical year. This spring, at least 95% of all industry conferences and trade shows were cancelled due to the threat of COVID-19.  While many states in the U.S. are currently moving through their phased re-openings, the nation’s largest states are seeing a corresponding spike in cases. Texas, Arizona, Florida and at least 7 other states have seen spikes, while Massachusetts and Colorado are among the states that are seeing a decline in hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.  In the distance of these surging and declining stats looms the fall, when many public health experts believe we could see a second, potentially more deadly wave of the virus.  

What do these numbers mean for industry conferences?  Unfortunately, we just don’t know.  How do we bring together people from all over the country, and in some cases the world, when each geographic area is facing a different COVID-19 scenario?  Add to that the scope and scale of a medium to large industry conference.  It isn’t just managing the exposure risk at the exhibition hall and hotel, it’s the entire conference ecosystem of meeting planners, conference speakers, lighting technicians, truckers, food handlers, exhibitors, local restaurant staff and offsite venue personnel.  When will attendees feel comfortable to register for conferences again? When will meeting planners feel confident that they can manage the risks associated with running a conference for hundreds or thousands of people?  With very few conferences taking place in 2020, healthcare professionals will have to look to other avenues to earn their CEUs.  Fortunately, there are some exciting options.  Many industry associations are either holding virtual annual meetings or providing other online resources for healthcare professionals. Check out the professional development opportunities below until we can meet again. 

AABB

Education is an important and constantly expanding resource of AABB.  In addition to the virtual annual meeting in October, AABB offers a range of eLearning programs, including eCasts and the Cellular Therapies Certificate program. You can find more information at www.aabb.org/development

SCC Soft

The Educational Services department of SCC Soft provides a full spectrum of learning solutions, including, self-guided computer based and Web-based training, instructor led Web-based training, and Webinars.  SCC is an approved provider of continuing education programs in the clinical laboratory sciences by the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) P.A.C.E. Program. Learn more at www.softcomputer.com/edu

Cerner

While the regional Cerner user group meetings have been postponed until next year.  Some Cerner RUGs are offering virtual professional development opportunities, such as lunch and learn sessions.  Find your local group at www.cernerusers.workoutloud.com

Sunquest

Developed specifically for adult learning, Sunquest iMentor™ delivers up-to-date, intuitive and easy-to-use e-learning modules for Sunquest solutions. Emphasizing simulation, hands-on modules provide consistent training for faster skills development. Access role-speci­fic, online training for new hires and release-specific courses for experienced employees, to get the most out of your Sunquest systems. Explore the iMentor program at www.sunquestinfo.com/imentor

HIMMS

Experience the education, innovation and collaboration of the HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition… virtually. View the schedule of online sessions atwww.himss.org/events/himss-digital