March 28, 2012
Letter to the Editor,
Dr. John P.A. Ioannidis 1 raises some interesting opinions about the value of medical conferences.
However, among the many criticisms that he set forth I was surprised that he spared the modus operandi that prevails in most conferences. Specifically, many of them have devolved into “slide shows”. The presenters are usually well-versed in their subjects but the number and complexity of the slides that they use often over tax the average physician’s ability to concentrate on the enormous amount of material that is presented.
Sometimes, I get the impression that the presenter is more concerned about displaying his/her knowledge than in actually teaching.
Conferences (and hospital presentations and grand rounds) would take a quantum leap in effectiveness if presenters would limit the number of slides they show and also limit the bits of information on each slide.
It might be said that the availability of audiovisual equipment has diminished the need for presenters to be true communicators.
1.Ioannidis PA. Are medical conferences useful? And for whom? JAMA. 2012;1257-1258.
Edward J. Volpintesta MD