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July 4, 2012

Usefulness of Medical Conferences

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Jody W. Zylke, MD, Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Department of Critical Care, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands (

JAMA. 2012;308(1):31-33. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.6362

To the Editor: Dr Ioannidis1 explained why the contribution of medical conferences in furthering health care is overrated. However, he did not mention an important factor that increases the number and size of conferences: continuous medical education (CME). Continuous medical education is mandatory and many CME credits can be collected at conferences. However the content of the CME is largely determined by the same organizations organizing the conferences. In addition, conferences are held in nice places and are the most pleasant way to collect CME credits. Restructuring CME to use evidence-based education methods may be a way to limit this type of medical tourism.