ACME LAUNCHES LEARNING COMMUNITIES
“You know how it is — you come to a meeting, learn something new, you're excited and ready to go back home and try it. But sometimes once you go back to your settings those good ideas just don't get implemented,” said Marcia Jackson, PhD, senior associate executive vice president, education division, American College of Cardiology, in her welcome speech during the opening plenary session of the Alliance for CME's 26th Annual Conference. Held January 24 to 27 at the San Francisco Marriott, the meeting drew a record-breaking 1,363 participants. Jackson, who was conference chair, went on to tell attendees that the Alliance has initiated a new program to help them sustain their momentum and “continue learning beyond the confines of the meeting.”
“Our perception is that EBM will grow in importance, and the public will expect physicians to practice it.” — Norman Kahn Jr., MD
Six sessions, focusing on areas including needs assessment, evaluation, and leadership, were identified in the program as learning communities. Participants and facilitators in those workshops are charged with a year-long goal: to develop best practices by the next meeting. The Alliance has set up listservs so the participants can communicate with each other year-round. Progress reports will be posted on the Alliance Web site (www.acme-assn-org); and at next year's conference, participants will present their best practices, and new “communities of practice” will be announced. Other conference firsts: the program included CME 891, an advanced seminar for CME veterans and leaders, which focused on the role of CME in reducing medical errors. The basics course, CME 101, is now available in CD-ROM. For information, visit www.cmebasics.org.
In news announced at the conference:
Future Standards: It's been ten years since the Accreditation Council for CME's Standards for Commercial Support were adopted and thehas decided it may be time for change. A task force will re-evaluate the guidelines and the ACCME is soliciting providers' input. Meanwhile, during a lively session, attendees discussed the challenges they currently face enforcing the Standards. At the end, Murray Kopelow, MD, executive director, ACCME, reminded the audience that the press and public are currently challenging the CME system. He then asked: “Do you agree that yes, it costs, but [the Standards for Commercial Support] is a document that we should continue to use, defend, and protect?” Most attendees raised their hands in a definite vote of confidence.
AMA Credit Rules Revamped: “Oops, we goofed,” admitted Dennis K. Wentz, MD, director, division of continuing physician professional development, American Medical Association, during an AMA Town Meeting. Concerned that physicians receive a well-rounded education, the AMA had recently stipulated that a single activity could not offer more than 50 credit hours. The intent was to curb providers who are, for instance, associated with degree-granting institutions and who offer hundreds of credit hours for a class — not to penalize providers such as specialty societies that designate 60 hours for credit at an annual meeting. The rule is being re-evaluated, and the AMA welcomes comments. The new Physician's Recognition Award booklet, which also contains other changes, is available online at ama-assn.org/cme.
Evidence-based medicine is not a fad, said Norman Kahn Jr., MD, vice president, education and science, American Academy of Family Physicians, during a hot-topics session. “Our perception is that evidence-based medicine will grow in importance and the public will expect physicians to practice it.” The AAFP now requires that CME activities offering proscribed credit must meet international standards for evidence-based medicine. This year, the AAFP will work with 17 CME providers to pilot the initiative. The providers, said Kahn, “will review the evidence grading schemes and evidence sources and determine which are most user-friendly.” (More ACME coverage begins on page 43.)