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Monday's ATA agenda: Education, networking and e-posters

By Mike Moran, Project Editor

The ATA went the extra mile this year to develop concurrent educational sessions that drill deep into subject areas that past attendees had flagged as high priorities.

"We feel like the industry has matured to where there are some very important areas," said Jordana Bernard, senior director of program services. "Folks said they wanted to hear more about specific lessons learned from model programs, policy issues, ROI and reimbursement. That played a big part in how we developed our priorities."

In years past, the ATA's call for presentations was very broad.

"It was, 'Send in your presentation for any topic related to telemedicine or telehealth,'" Bernard said.

This year, the ATA grouped potential presentations into one of five themed areas: business finance and economics; model programs and best practice; scientific research, outcomes and evidence; innovative applications; and public policies.
The final presentations were then organized into eight subject areas: clinical services; model programs; operations & business; pediatric telehealth; public policy; remote monitoring; technology: telemedicine & HIT; and telemental health.  A ninth track allows attendees to sit in on nine industry executive panels over two days and listen in as the ATA's top corporations address industry issues and challenges.
Overall, between Monday and Tuesday, the ATA's 17th annual meeting offers 84 hour-long concurrent sessions. All but the industry executive panels provide continuing education credits.  

Ed Brown

"The most exciting thing for me is to see all the stuff that is here," said ATA Vice President Ed Brown. "There's great variety and quality. This is a microcosm of where telemedicine is and where it is going to go. I'm excited by the choices, but I'm going to have a hard time picking what sessions to go to."

In addition to the educational opportunities, the concurrent sessions offer attendees great networking opportunities, Bernard said.

"Networking is one of the top reasons people come to the ATA," she said. "If you attend a topic of interest, you find out who else is doing it, what they are doing and you can follow up with them later."

Another first for this year's expo: To go along with 115 traditional poster boards, 50 e-posters are on display in the exhibit hall and near the breakout rooms. The e-posters are like PowerPoint presentations. They include 10 slides or less, and allow the viewers to email the presenters questions and comments.

"We think people will think they are pretty cool," Bernard said.


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