Performance improvement CME is long overdue

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Performance improvement CME is an idea whose time has come. The problem is many outside the realm of healthcare improvement and education haven't made the same realization even though organizations and medical societies have been creating and implementing quality and performance improvement initiatives in an attempt to “improve patient outcomes.”

On the surface, the concept seems viable; providers are crazy not to implement it within their practice environments. After all, the goals of PI CME are to educate providers on the latest medical advances, provide an opportunity for them to participate in an accurate and unbiased self-assessment, to reduce variation in patient care and ultimately, improve outcomes. So why isn't everyone with a medical license taking part?

Many factors contribute to the lackluster participation of healthcare providers in PI CME. Educators need to do a better job translating the value of participation to the target audience. Initiatives need to be created so they are not considered an administrative burden and overall value made to attract the attention of healthcare providers. Since time is among the most precious resources, value-added messages must be received in a specific manner.

Healthcare professionals are required by the American Board of Medical Specialties to participate in routine Maintenance of Certification activities that follow or include PI CME as a template for completion. Unfortunately, many physicians consider the PI component to be a necessary evil and quite frankly, difficult to administer. The mandated approach is to raise the bar amongst certified physicians within a specialty, but it seems these mandated initiatives may be perceived as having low educational value, sadly creating a stigma for other performance-based educational initiatives.

To address the time and administrative complaints of PI CME programming among healthcare professionals, educational initiatives are being designed that simply fall short on value. Some educational providers are more concerned with the number of participants and ease of programming, rather than the quality of the dispensed education. This attitude could very well lead to the failure of PI CME initiatives in the future. Educators who have embraced PI CME know it can change behaviors, create better systems and provide better delivery of healthcare. By focusing on quantity over quality, the main rationale is overlooked defeating the intent behind more complex CME programming.

Rick Kennison, DPM, MBA, CCMEP, is president, PeerPoint Medical Education Institute
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