Task Force Meeting: Communities of Practice synthesis

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There were two sessions at the National Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration conference reserved for communities of practice (pharma, medical schools, MECCs, hospitals, societies) to get together and hash out their answers to two questions: What conflicts of interest do you face, and how did you clear them. Peter Vlasses, PharmD, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, took on the unenviable slot after ACCME's Murray Kopelow at the end of the meeting to put together what the various groups had come up with and synthesize the commonalities.


He listed the most commonly named conflicts, then had the audience vote via ARS on which are the most difficult to deal with. Company employees topped the list, followed by speakers bureaus, advisory boards/consultants/vendors, inventor/patent holders, clinical trial investigators, and stockholders.


The most common ways people deal with COI were: Peer review/approval of content/balance; require evidence-based content/references; inform about and document COI implications/risks; cancel activity/change speaker/change role; and tell speakers to refrain from making recommendations. When bias is reported, exclude that speaker from future activities.


Because the pharma group had different issues, that group was asked what emerging problems regarding collaboration between pharma and CME did they see. Their top four were: Lack of metrics, outcomes, and return on education in the proposals; weak proposals (especially in regard to needs assessment and objectives); lack of knowledge about educational design; and completeness of proposals (thoroughness, timeliness, ACCME compliance).


Some solutions the pharma group came up with to deal with these issues:

  • Develop standard definitions for metrics and outcomes. Include pharma's expectations for outcomes on the letter of agreement.

  • Partner with the Alliance for CME to provide education about what to do to shore up weak and incomplete proposals.

  • Certify and pursue certification for expertise in adult education. CME departments should talk with graduate medical education departments to tap into expertise that's already been developed.
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