CMS-sponsored workshop helps organizations design better CME programs
by JoAnne Wojak, Director, Continuing Medical Education
Featured in the July/August 2015 Colorado Medicine.
Professionals from accredited continuing medical education organizations attended a workshop in Denver in May sponsored by the Colorado Medical Society about how CME should be used as a tool to improve quality, and how to improve the effectiveness of their CME activities by adding innovative formats to traditional lectures.
Jay Want, MD, medical director of the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC), began the program with an introduction of how quality metrics and measurement techniques will change in the era of “big data” – predisposing participants to consider how to address quality gaps of the future that will include cost of care, patient experience and total population health.
Beryl Vallejo, PhD, an expert in quality and patient safety systems, then led a discussion about ways that quality improvement and CME professionals can work together – “integrating CME and QI” to improve measures. Vallejo pointed out that community-based physicians are unlikely to attend CME explicitly focused on Q and that QI components should be embedded in CME that is focused on clinical content. An example would be a diabetic CME program about new drugs/therapies that include strategies designed to reduce CV risk factors and manage HbA1C. This method does not teach QI skills, but focuses on a well-documented quality gap.
Marcia Jackson, PhD, led a discussion about innovative formats for activities designed for adult learners. Breakout groups then had an opportunity to apply principles of “purposeful planning” and innovative features to traditional learning activities. These features include case example quizzes, problem-based learning, pro-con debate, and jeopardy games. The whole group critiqued the activities using specified criteria and voted for the best-designed CME activity. A prize was presented to the winning team.
One of the goals of this activity was to encourage CME-accredited organizations to begin thinking about “QI Education,” i.e. incorporating education tools and techniques into QI improvement activities. This linking of QI and CME requires these two distinct functions at institutions to work together to close quality gaps. The second goal of the workshop was to help CME providers improve the effectiveness of traditional CME formats. Imparting medical knowledge to physicians is typically offered as a traditional lecture format, such as a one-hour PowerPoint presentation during breakfast or lunch. These often result in low retention and little-to-no practice change. CME research shows that when adult learners are actively engaged in their own learning (e.g. innovative and interactive formats), this helps to improve retention and behavior change.
The survey results of this workshop showed very positive ratings. Participants noted new strategies that they will apply to CME planning.