IOM report favors government role in CME

A recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report focused on reforming CME offers a new catalyst for change: a public-private institute that would alter the way education is financed, regulated and evaluated.

As soon as practical, members of the IOM committee wrote, the secretary of Health and Human Services should work to plan a public-private institute to help bring about a shift in CME, incorporating existing components but transitioning to continuing professional development (CPD), an educational model focused more on outcomes. IOM favors government involvement only as a catalyst. “We needed a third party with clout to convene the right people on these issues, and [the government] would be able to create some accountability,” said committee chair Gail Warden during a webinar hosted by the Alliance for CME and other national CME groups.

But John Kamp, executive director, Coalition for Healthcare Communication, said he sees in the report a threat to “nationalize” CME. “More bureaucracy and federal spending are the last things we need in CME, especially in this age of huge federal deficits and the incredible resources needed to deliver the promise of healthcare reform to the American public.”

Warden, of the extent of government's role on the webinar, said: “This is not something we're just trying to turn over to government. We're trying to get government attention, get them involved.” In their recommendations, IOM also set the stage for academic medical centers to play a lead role in forming the institute: “They need to own CPD, and not just in their own particular profession but across the professions,” Warden said.

Industry input would still be valued. “We obviously cannot ignore pharma and device manufacturers and the important role that they play…and we obviously have to recognize that much of that is done by education providers that are connected to those organizations,” he said.

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