We know physicians and other healthcare providers like to bellyache about having to take days away from their practices to go to their specialty society’s annual conference, or even having to take a few hours off to participate in online and print continuing medical education. But is the time and effort worth it?

According to a recent survey by Global Education Group, the answer is an unqualified “yes.” In fact, healthcare providers rated accredited CME activities as more valuable for their practice improvement and patient outcomes than journal articles and other publications, speakers bureau programs, and promotional and other non-certified education.

One sign of CME’s value: Even though most physicians are required to complete just 30 hours of CME each year, 89 percent of the surveyed HCPs said they routinely complete more hours than required by their state boards. As one explained, “I need to stay current to teach staff and share new information with them.” Another elaborated, “You can never know enough, or everything.”

That wish to know enough is, in part, the philosophy that spurred the research to begin with. “The success of our education depends on the knowledge we have of our learners,” says Amanda Glazar, PhD, CCMEP, Global’s director of adult learning and outcomes. “If we want to thrive in an evidence-based CME/CE environment, we need to collect and incorporate sound data from the learners themselves.” And while what they had to say does provide data to back up CME providers who are sick of arguing whether what they do has value, it also points to barriers that still exist when it comes to gaining real value from the hours HCPs spend on CME.