Thanks to technical improvements, a form of online CME may finally realize its potential. Point-of-care (PoC) CME lets doctors earn credit for conducting structured online searches to answer clinical questions.
The format had been hampered by an inability for physicians to easily gain and claim credit online. The paperwork burden of processing half-credit units had posed the “biggest stumbling block” for providers thinking about offering it, said Laird Kelly, president of RSi Communications Group.
A free system Kelly has worked on for the last two years comes wrapped in a browser add-on slated for release next month. It lets physicians enter a query, scour a broad library of resources for answers and claim credit. Subscription-based services, such as UpToDate and Wiley’s InfoPOEMs/InfoRetriever, have added automated processing of credits online. The American College of Physicians told MM&M it is developing a tool to enable for-credit PoC searches with its PIER decision-support tool. Medscape expects to offer a version this year, as well.
Another hurdle had been a lack of credible sources, said Sondra Moylan, founder and president, AACME. Moylan, a joint sponsor of RSi’s search tool, helped assemble a medical advisory board to cull peer-reviewed, evidence-based resources. Other PoC providers employ physicians to write original content.
The AMA and AAFP award PoC credit for a three-step learning cycle: documenting the clinical question, sources consulted and the application to practice.
While industry surveys show a high level of physician interest in PoC, funding for non-subscription services remains an issue.