October 17th, 2011

PNC/MLA Day 1: You’re Blogging This, Right?

I am having a great time at our Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Medical Library Association (PNC/MLA) meeting in Boise, Idaho.

Listening to different speakers who are not aware of each others’ presentations ahead of time but have common threads woven through them all is fascinating and, to me, one of the best things about our Chapter meetings because I’ve seen it happen in each of the 6 years I’ve been a part of them. Well, maybe I’ll take that back – I was a brand new student deer in the headlights who barely knew a soul in 2006, and 2007 I was an intern exhibiting at a conference for the first time. You can judge for yourself what sort of clue I had for 2009 and 2010. I said I would blog about the electronic health records (EHRs) continuing education session in 2008 then didn’t. I think it was because I was so struck by the vision I had there to get myself to Woods Hole the next year then teach online that I couldn’t handle blogging at the same time.

From our morning keynote speaker Molly Mettler (Senior Vice President of Healthwise) addressing how Baby Boomers and librarians are changing the game for healthcare to the rapt attention we paid author Anthony Doerr as he read to us his Smithsonian Magazine article about Boise (they chose the title, not him) in the evening, the threads this year involve the value of personal stories, advocacy, and being a game changer in the face of shifts in demographics, health care reform, budgets and a myriad of other factors.

The threads may or may not be apparent in my Google Docs notes coverage for today too. There is a lot to scroll through but I particularly want to highlight Rose Relevo’s STAT talk about PubMed Health. I took a crappy picture of an awesome Venn diagram she made about it that makes a lot of sense.

I had to smile when I was asked something along the subject line about blogging – and appreciate the assumption. I’ll always cover from my perspective whatever is going on at professional conferences unless I am explicitly asked not to. This has happened a few times but not recently, and if so I will challenge people to come up with a compromise. Nothing can ever replace the personal connections at conferences but there’s no sense in keeping all the information to ourselves.

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