MGMA 2008: Medical leaders get much food for thought

Welcome to our preview issue for the Medical Group Management Association's 2008 Annual Conference! I'm looking forward to visiting San Diego--which I hear is quite a lovely town--but even more to getting up to speed on the hottest issues in medical practice management. From all indications, you'd better come hungry, as there's tons of food for thought here.

For one thing, the MGMA does a first-class job with its breakout sessions, and I strongly recommend you check them out. Expect to come back with the latest updates on how to manage tough issues like physician-hospital relationships and pay-for-performance contracts, in most cases from senior peers who've already gotten their hands dirty before they churned out their PowerPoint presentation. (In other worlds, not a lot of fluff here.)

I also encourage you to check out at least one of the general sessions (on Tuesday Oct. 21 at 8:30 AM), a session on evidence-based leadership hosted by veteran healthcare administrator Quint Studer. While I don't know how much Mr. Studer has to say that's new, I'm always up for hearing from someone who's been in the trenches, aren't you?

On top of everything else, if you're like me, you'll want to connect with as many new contacts as you can. In fact, you may even want to start the process before the show with MGMA's online networking tool. I know, you already realize that you're going to be surrounded by smart folks, but it never hurts to remind yourself to take advantage of their presence. The experience in those show hallways offers one heck of a database, doesn't it? 

Last, but definitely not least, it's always worth spending at least an hour or two on the exhibit hall floor. Of course, you may not be on the market for a big shiny EMR or the like, but why not look at what's out there? Even if you don't buy these toys yourself, it never hurts to understand the key differences in how they work. (OK, call that the geek in me...) And if nothing else, maybe you can win something to take home to your kids. (Just check out this guide to which prizes vendors are giving out and take a shot.)

All told, this year's MGMA show should be one heck of an experience. I hope to catch up with some of you and see how the show is turning out--so if you see me, please feel free to say hello! - Anne

P.S.  After the show, please join us for our post-MGMA Webinar, in which our panelists will share their top takeaways from the show. The post-show event will be October 28 at 3 p.m. (12 p.m. PST). We look forward to seeing you there.