Alliance for CME Day 3: CME as a value center #acme2010

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I don't know if he was really going fast or if my brain was starting to clog up by the last session this afternoon, but I had a hard time keeping up with this one and know I can't do it any kind of justice until the slides are available. There was just so much information packed into an hour that it was both ridiculous and sublime.

Basically, presenter Todd Dorman, MD, walked us through the reasons why CME has to be viewed as a value center, not a profit center, and how to go about doing it.

CME can't be a profit center that is mandated to make a certain margin by year's end because it can set an unconscious pressure to do things that will ensure you hit your fiscal goals, when you should be concentrating on educational goals. But CME departments often are viewed as profit centers anyway because they do, after all, bring in money (at some organizations, anyway). It's up to you to change that around by identifying the value you provide to whoever is in charge of your organization, by showing CME to be a strategic and tactical lever to help your organization accomplish its mission.

Some possible ways to do that people at my table came up with were to show the impact on patient care, improvement in physician knowledge, impact on the organization's brand, and even the financial benefit live activities bring to a destination in terms of hotel room nights, food and beverage expenditures, and taxes. The latter can be useful for the organization's leaders when they're working with local officials, and for a state or local organization, can be an important part of the organization's actual mission. If you're doing CME research, that can add to your value because it diversifies the research grant funds.

Once you collect data on what makes CME a value center to your organization, you have to be able to tell your story convincingly, passionately, and compellingly, he said. Touch the minds of your audience with data, but also touch their hearts by including stories of how your activities have impacted a physician on a personal level.

Other suggestions:

* Put the bulk of the data in handouts and keep the number of slides small

* Use key phrases (value, strategy, asset) repeatedly

* Use the opportunity to educate your leadership about your department, its policies and procedures, how it adds to the organization's diversity, and other ways it supports the overall mission.

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