First, in a world in which we can increasingly segment our information (i.e., watch Glenn Beck or Rachel Maddow), making a habit of attending grand rounds is one of the few ways for physicians to be exposed to information and people outside their professional silos. We are all in danger of accruing new information about only those things we already know and like.
Second, grand rounds can help build, or promote, community. Think about it: increasingly, texting, email, and Facebook mean that we can get through our days without actual human contact. Grand rounds provides a venue for all the members of a social network (in this case, a department of medicine) to schmooze and bond.
Finally, grand rounds are an opportunity for faculty to connect with their peers, letting their colleagues and trainees know what they’re up to. These interactions create the mutual respect that fuels a great department, along with many serendipitous collaborations. But for this mixing to occur, I have to attend my colleague’s lecture, and she mine. Remember Yogi Berra’s famous observation: “If you don't go to somebody's funeral, they won't come to yours.”
But aside from all that, for me and many other physicians lecture based CME is a very effective learning method. And while didactic education is currently under attack by the medical thought police, most departments of medicine have continued the format and many post the lectures on line, which I view regularly and many of which I have linked here and here.