Oncologists come to Hawaii for CME?

KEY TAKEAWAY: Oncologists have been very vocal about the cost of cancer drugs, but what about the cost of flying to Hawaii and staying at a resort?  Even though they may be paying for it it still can be considered a “business expense” and can be written off.

I have to admit that I was puzzled as to why Oncologists would fly to Hawaii for CME and vendor sessions at a time when there is so much focus on containing costs.  Granted the field of Oncology is a tough one, but should pharma companies really sponsor these type of activities when they are held at a resort in Hawaii?

The key sponsor is is Cancer Expert Now which allows patients to talk to a top expert from the field via online chats.  It’s a great idea considering that there millions of hits via Google when someone researches cancer and most are difficult to understand. However, wouldn’t that money be better spent granting access to patients who are on the lower end of the economic health scale?

Is this the future of online health?  That depends.  Online physicians may not have the full patient history and thus they may not give information or recommendations that are relevant to  certain patients.  In addition, will a patient’s oncologist get upset if a patient asks about certain treatment options they got online?  Granted that we are in an era of patient empowerment, but when a patient doesn’t understand the treatment parameters of their medications it could lead to even more confusion.

When I visited the website and saw that this CME was held in Hawaii I was a bit puzzled.  Maybe health care doesn’t understand that there is an effort to reduce costs across the board.  Certainly there can be a more cost effective way to hold these type of conferences.