As we said at the beginning of this article, the new accreditation system is at the ‘proposal-and-comment’ stage and probably won’t be implemented until late 2014 or early 2015. But in the meantime, it is prudent to give some thought to the skills and processes that your organization will need to develop. Here are some of our recommendations:

1. Consider a strategic planning meeting with your CME committee or advisory board. As a primary component to the needs assessment in planning CME, you should include in the discussion ways in which your organization can access patient data. 

2. As the ACCME moves toward individualized learning, have you considered designing CME activities that fulfill specialty board requirements for MOC?

3. In what other ways can your organization address the individual practice gaps of your learners? Will new technology be required to facilitate that process? Do you have the outcomes measurement tools in place to quantify the individualized changes that have taken place after engaging in CME?

4. Identify areas of personal growth that will position your staff, as educational professionals, to be more engaged in the process of CME. For example, do you know how to synthesize lengthy needs statements into clear, 25-word expressions of the professional practice gaps as expressed by physician planners? Do you know how to review a gap analysis, how to write learning objectives, and how to design outcomes questions that will measure improvement in competence and/or performance? Do you know how to rewrite learning objectives submitted by faculty so that they express what the learner is expected to be able to do in their practice after the CME intervention? Find a trainer or coach to help you plan personal education to hone those skills.

5. What about interprofessional education? Is that type of education indicated in your organization’s purpose and mission? If so, are you currently providing education that is only intended for physicians or nurses or pharmacists, or have you thought about how to use your CME/CPD as a tool to hone an effective care team that meets the needs of patients and their families? In other words, it’s not just about offering a lot of education for different professionals; it’s about how those professionals interrelate to advance the quality of care!

6. In terms of your CME/CPD mission statement, while we don’t advocate changing anything as yet, it is not too early to start thinking about the outcomes of your CME process. What do you want CME to achieve for your learners and their patients? How will the outcomes of your education advance quality and patient safety? How will your activities be planned to effect real and meaningful outcomes? What does that change mean in terms of the training needs for your staff and planners? Do you have the skills onboard to effect those outcomes? If not, what budget will help you achieve that goal and where will those funds come from?

To help you plan a course of action, identify your personal action steps as you consider the coming CME changes. To assist this process we have developed a worksheet that you can download from http://passinassociates.com/downloadmmm.

Steve Passin is president and CEO, Sue O’Brien and Judy Sweetnam are senior associates, and Denise Doyle is an associate with Steve Passin & Associates—based in Newtown Square, PA. Send questions or comments to Steve Passin at passin@passinassociates.com.