Representative Council, Speaker Report

EMRA RepCo: Goes Digital

If you attended SAEM17, you probably noticed some changes during the EMRA Representative Council Meeting. After seeing only about 30% of our organization's representatives at SAEM16 in New Orleans, I knew we had to make a change. With the help of our staff, our board, and you the members, Virtual RepCo was born. It is made up of three parts:

Virtual Reference Committee

We start reviewing resolutions before anyone arrives for the conference. Each resolution submitted as a regular resolution gets uploaded to a secure platform embedded in our website ( There, after logging in, members are able to read the resolutions and provide comments and feedback. This allows every member of the organization to see what resolutions are being voted on – and to post their opinions, objections, and amendments. This makes every member a more integral part of the meetings, and allows each voice to be heard, even if you are unable to attend our in-person reference committee.

Virtual Representative Council

It wasn't enough to bring our resolutions into everyone's home and office. We wanted to bring the whole meeting there, too. We adapted our “EMRA Hangout” model and created a webinar to broadcast the meeting. Each podium and in-room microphone was equipped with a camera and computer microphone, so the entire meeting could be streamed anywhere in the world. From the slides that guide the meeting to the reports and debates, we made sure you could see and hear it all. But what if you wanted to comment as well? The webinar allows you to submit a written comment to be read aloud during debate, or to “raise your hand” and be projected on the screens in the meeting room to make your point. But that still leaves one more connection conundrum unsolved.

Remote Voting

Even if you can't comment on a resolution before a meeting, or speak on the resolution during the meeting, there is no reason every program representative shouldn't be allowed to vote on the resolution at a meeting (in accordance with our bylaws and procedures of course). We upgraded our “clicker” system and are now using CloudVote, a completely online voting platform so that every motion and every board election can be voted on from anywhere in the United States. Every program representative gets a unique identifier before each meeting, which is used to log in to the voting software. This creates a secure two-part identification process allowing for fast, seamless, and secure credentialing for our meetings.

Once credentialed, EMRA program reps can watch the webinar of the meeting, and when it comes time to vote, pull up the voting tab on their computer or phone and vote. This adds an additional level of security to our voting system while allowing representatives anywhere in the country to support their colleagues running for office, or to vote on a resolution they know will change our organization for the better.

This three-part system debuted at SAEM17, and we learned a lot from that experience.
But none of this happens without all of you.
Please take the time to let me know what you liked and what you didn't like.