Monthly Archives: dicembre 2015

Ten Simple Rules for Chairing a Scientific Session @WRicciardi @RSiliquini @drsilenzi @redhenry88

by Alex Bateman1, Philip E. Bourne2* 1 Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2 Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America

Chairing a session at a scientific conference is a thankless task. If you get it right, no one is likely to notice. But there are many ways to get it wrong and a little preparation goes a long way to making the session a success. Here are a few pointers that we have picked up over the years.

Rule 1: Don’t Let Things Overrun Probably the main role of the session chair is to keep the meeting running on time. Time is a strange and elastic concept when people are under pressure. Some speakers will talk much faster than normal and finish a talk in half the expected time. Others will ramble on without knowing that time is running out and they have only just finished their introduction. Timing is important to ensure that a meeting runs smoothly. Delegates should leave the session at just the right time so that lunches are still fresh, bars still open, etc. Timing is particularly acute if there are multiple parallel sessions and delegates would want to switch between talks in different sessions.

Rule 2: Let Your Speakers Know the Rules A session will run more smoothly if you let all the speakers know how you plan to run your session. This could be done by email before the event or you might want to gather up the speakers just before the session. Reminding them how much time they have to speak, how much time to allow for questions, and how you will let them know time is up will stop confusion later on. Beyond the rules, encourage speakers to review what others in the session will say. The less redundancy, the better the session will be for everyone, including the chair.

Rule 3: Be Prepared to Give a Short Introduction Be prepared to give a short introduction to the session, and, of course, introduce yourself as well. Be sure to review the abstracts of the talks and then give a succinct summary of what will be presented. It is your job to excite people at the session and have them stay in the auditorium. Regarding the speakers, introduce each one before they begin, providing their background and highlighting their major accomplishments. Speakers love to be properly introduced and the audience likes to feel they know the person speaking. But for the sake of both the timing of the session and your speakers, do keep it brief. Are you expected to give any housekeeping messages or to remind people to switch off their phones? Allow time for that if so.

Rule 4: Write Down the Actual Start Times of the Speakers If you don’t know what time a speaker started, it is difficult to know when to ask them to stop. So always write down the start and finish times of speakers throughout the session.

Rule 5: Do Have a Watch It sounds obvious, but it is very difficult to chair a session if you don’t have a watch and don’t know the time. Yes, one of us has done this! It is embarrassing to have to ask your neighbor for a watch. Actually, it is probably best to have two watches, just in case.

Rule 6: Communicate How Much Time is Left to the Speaker Letting the speaker know their time is up is crucial in keeping time. A simple sign held up at the right time is usually fine. Have one saying, ‘‘5 minutes to go’’ and another saying ‘‘time is up’’. Beyond that time, standing up on the stage is a good sign that the speaker should wrap up.

Rule 7: Don’t Be Afraid to Move on Without Questions

A good scientific session is characterized by a lively question and answer session. In fact, some speakers believe it is their right to expect to answer questions even after their allotted time is up. If you are running over time, you should not be afraid to move on to the next talk without questions. You will be more confident in enforcing this principle if you have warned the speaker beforehand that running over will require foregoing taking questions at that time. You can stay on schedule by diplomatically saying that the speaker will be happy to take questions at the break.

Rule 8: Get to the Venue Early and Be Audiovisually Aware Make sure to know where everything is, like pointers, microphones, projectors, and computers and who to turn to if it all goes wrong. It is worth checking that all these things work so that you can swiftly fix them yourself. Knowing ahead of time any unusual requests from speakers to show movies and sound clips requiring special attention. Be sure the venue supports the needs of speakers. If not, let them know before they get to the venue. If each speaker is expected to load their presentation on a single computer associated with the podium, allow time for that and have the speaker run through their slides to be sure everything is working properly.

Rule 9: Prepare Some Questions in Advance

It can take an audience a few seconds to digest the contents of a talk and think of questions. So, it is always good to have one or two ready to ask.

prepared beforehand from the abstracts and supplemented from ones that occur to you during the talk. This is a very good reason for paying attention during the talk. Also, it is worth thinking of one or two general purpose questions such as ‘‘What do you plan to do next?’’ Rule 10: Keep Control of the Question and Answer Sessions It is difficult for the session chair to keep things on time if the speaker is in control of taking questions. Make sure you are the one who selects the next questioner. Also, be prepared to step in if the speaker and questioner are getting into a long-winded, technical discussion. Hopefully with a bit of preparation and a little luck, you will get through the ordeal of chairing a scientific session unscathed. And remember, if no one thanks you, you have probably done an excellent job. PLoS Computational Biology | http://www.ploscompbiol.org 2 September 2009 | Volume 5 | Issue 9 | e1000517

These can be Citation: Bateman A, Bourne PE (2009) Ten Simple Rules for Chairing a Scientific Session. PLoS Comput Biol 5(9): e1000517. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000517 Published September 25, 2009 Copyright: 2009 Bateman, Bourne. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. * E-mail: bourne@sdsc.edu PLoS Computational Biology | http://www.ploscompbiol.org 1 September 2009 | Volume 5 | Issue 9 | e1000517 prepared beforehand from the abstracts and supplemented from ones that occur to you during the talk. This is a very good reason for paying attention during the talk. Also, it is worth thinking of one or two general purpose questions such as ‘‘What do you plan to do next?’’ Rule 10: Keep Control of the Question and Answer Sessions It is difficult for the session chair to keep things on time if the speaker is in control of taking questions. Make sure you are the one who selects the next questioner. Also, be prepared to step in if the speaker and questioner are getting into a long-winded, technical discussion. Hopefully with a bit of preparation and a little luck, you will get through the ordeal of chairing a scientific session unscathed. And remember, if no one thanks you, you have probably done an excellent job. PLoS Computational Biology | http://www.ploscompbiol.org 2 September 2009 | Volume 5 | Issue 9 | e1000517

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The Five Biggest Problems In Health Care Today @WRicciardi @Medici_Manager @LeadMedIt

Leah Binder Contributor

I named this blog “Losing Patients” as a play on words. But in all seriousness, our health care system is literally losing “patients,” killing more than 500 per day from errors, accidents and infections in hospitals alone, not to mention the mortality and suffering from millions of procedures that never needed to be done in the first place. At the same time, the employers and other purchasers paying for this care are losing “patience” with the slow pace of change in cleaning up the mess.

Think I’m a bit too pessimistic? Take the example of early elective deliveries.  These are births scheduled without a medical reason between 37 and 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. The prevalence of these unsafe deliveries perfectly embodies the five biggest problems in our health system. Below I explain how — but keep reading, because I do have some words of optimism in the end.

Problem 1: Too Much Unnecessary Care

Overuse and unnecessary care accounts for anywhere from one-third to one-half of all health care costs, which equal hundreds of billions of dollars, in addition to the half-a-trillion per year experts attribute to lost productivity and disability.

Early elective deliveries are unnecessary, according to advice by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that has been repeated for more than 30 years (that’s not a typo – 30 years), a point reinforced today at a press conference. This is a message carried by several other highly respected organizations like Childbirth Connectionthe March of Dimes and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). All national health plans concur. Nonetheless, we saw a dramatic escalation in the rates of these deliveries from the 1990s to the first decade of the new century.

Problem 2: Avoidable Harm to Patients

This is one of health care’s most common problems. The statistics are staggering. Here’s an example: one in four Medicare beneficiaries that are admitted to a hospital suffers some form of harm during their stay. Would you get in your car if you thought you had a one in four chance of harm during the drive?

Early elective deliveries harm women and newborns. Babies born at 37-39 completed weeks gestation are at much higher risk of death. They are also at a far higher risk for harms like respiratory problems and admission to the  (NICU).

Problem 3: Billions of Dollars are Being Wasted  

A report by the Institute of Medicine Health suggests a third or more of health costs are wasted. The cost of these unnecessary, harmful early elective deliveries was estimated in a study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology to be nearly $1 billion per year.

Problem 4: Perverse Incentives in How We Pay for Care

Traditionally, health plans, Medicare and Medicaid pay providers for whatever services they deliver, regardless of whether the service truly benefits the patient. As an excellent new book called “The Incentive Cure” points out (as does a plethora of other literature that could fill several libraries), how we end up with an epidemic of perverse incentives.

The harsh truth about early elective deliveries is that our payment system encourages them. They generate admissions to NICUs, and NICUs are profit centers. Studies suggest that reducing the rate of these deliveries to a reasonable number could eliminate as many as one-half million NICU days, which could lower health costs for the U.S. But this would force hospitals to take a big financial hit. To their credit, in my experience, once hospitals recognize they have a problem with early elective deliveries, they don’t think twice about taking that hit. States like South Carolina and Texas are trying to reverse the incentives, as are many employers. Unfortunately, they are the exception that proves the terrible rule of insane payment incentives.

Problem 5: Lack of Transparency

We have far more information available to us to compare and select a new car than we do to choose where to go for lifesaving health care.

Transparency galvanizes change like nothing else. Early elective deliveries exemplify that: Despite warnings over the years from medical societies and highly respected national organizations, the rates of these deliveries have been rising for decades. That stopped when a purchaser-driven organization, The Leapfrog Group (my organization), started reporting early elective delivery rates by hospitals in 2010. Suddenly, the rates started declining. Just today, Leapfrog released the 2012 data showing that the national rate for early elective deliveries is 11.2 percent, down from 17 percent in 2010. This is a voluntary survey, with nearly 800 hospitals providing the data willingly. Consumers deserve to know these rates for every hospital delivering babies in the country.

Now for a Dose of Optimism

We have a glimpse of success in ending early elective deliveries. Sparked by public reporting, we have seen a growing cadre of providers, policymakers and consumer advocates uniting to address this problem, and the Department of Health & Human Services declared early elective deliveries as a top priority issue. Regional coalitions are also vowing to end the practice in their community.

The next step is for purchasers and consumers to keep up the pressure because that will only help in encouraging real change. And we need to apply that model across the board – the  business community should also work together to address the five big problems in health care that have a direct impact on their own employees’ health and their business’ bottom line. The key message here for all groups is this: don’t financially reward the wrong care and demand transparency.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/leahbinder/2013/02/21/the-five-biggest-problems-in-health-care-today/