Pfizer grants take non-clinical tack

In a sign of industry's ongoing desire to broaden its CME funding outlook, a couple of programs recently supported by Pfizer aim to foster practice-based improvement as they seek to advance the science of CME.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) said it's using a three-year, $2-million educational Pfizer grant to develop an outcomes-based performance improvement effort. 

The nonprofit is mining databases of 10 facilities, then using the registry data to direct physician educational needs at those member institutions, which include oncology facilities at Boston's Mass General, Philly's Fox Chase and MD Anderson in Texas.

“It's totally different from anything that the large oncology groups have done to this point,” Pfizer's senior director of education, oncology, Brian McGowan, said of the NCCN program. “This is pretty much as practice-based and as performance-driven as any of the educational programs that I've seen in the last two years.” 

Pfizer committed a $300,000 challenge grant to the Joslin Diabetes Center for a CME research project that's designed to analyze different outcomes methods used to measure doctor performance (MM&M June 2011). According to Joslin's executive director of professional education Julie Brown, the center has since been able to raise the second half of the grant from GSK and Lilly. 

Such programs “seem to be received the best and to be a more appropriate place for support to go,” said McGowan.

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