James Wheless, MD: Consequences of Virtual Societal Meetings

June 4, 2020

The chief of pediatric neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital spoke to the difficulty in connecting with colleagues with virtual meetings.

“That ability to interact with an expert who’s actually used [a new medicine] and can say, ‘when you start, this is how you use it’ or ‘make sure you’re aware of this and that’ or ‘this is how I did my first few patients’…it’s really hard to replace that.”

As a number of medical meetings have been shifted to a virtual format in parallel to a large amount of medical care, the field has gained a new perspective and tested new abilities in sharing information and providing care. The majority of this has led to positives, most notably what appears to be a push forward in the quest to bring telemedicine to a more regular role.

Although, as with many aspects of this adjustment, there is some downside. For physicians like James Wheless, MD, professor and chief, Pediatric Neurology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and director, Neuroscience Institute and Le Bonheur Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, the inability to network at medical meetings has had a bit of a negative effect.

In this interview with NeurologyLive, Wheless shared his insight into the nuance of being able to pick an expert’s brain on the use of an investigational medicine or build on research opportunities while attending societal meetings. He also spoke to how this has affected the research he is currently involved in.