The RxCentric Web site, www.rxcentric.com, is blunt in its assessment of why its pharmaceutical firm clients support CME, and of who controls whom: “We work seamlessly with your CME provider [emphasis added] to maximize the of your educational grants by broadcasting them [over the Web] and then archiving the program.” What they lack in tact, however, they make up for in their approach to audience-building. The mechanism through which RxCentric maximizes ROI is a Web portal called Doctors Net Access (DNA), which, among other things, offers free Internet access to qualified physicians.
Think of it as AOL for doctors. Once DNA is installed on a physician's computer, it provides access to drug search capabilities, medical news, medical journals, and CME.
Its main CME partner is HealthStream e-CME (www.healthstream.com). Once directed to the HealthStream site, physicians can access CME courses provided by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and other providers. Some courses — in particular those related to new drug therapies — are free. Most are not; HealthStream offers “free” credit, but online courses cost $25.
To date, DNA claims only 25,000 active member physicians. RxCentric is confident, however, that the DNA service will grow quickly, since the whole point of DNA is to provide rapid-response online detailing to physicians, especially to physicians who can't or won't see pharmaceutical reps or accept new drug samples.
And because RxCentric records the activity of physicians at the DNA portal, it can match that activity against prescribing records and come as close as anyone can to proving causality between exposure to a detailing message or a CME course and eventual adoption of the drug by the physician.
There is a silver lining here for CME providers who care to see it: If the DNA portal can capture information about prescribing behavior, perhaps it can capture information about other physician behavior. Linking changed behaviors to CME would be a mighty fine tool for demonstrating linkage to the Accreditation Council for CME at survey time.
GE Offers CE for Docs
For nearly three years, sonographers (operators of ultrasound diagnostic equipment) have been able to receive continuing education credit at the GE Medical Systems ultrasound Web site, www.geultrasound.com. Now, thanks to a partnership with the Institute for Advanced Medical Education (IAME), an accredited provider, physicians can also receive credit — Category 1 CME credit — for taking online courses at the GE Web site. The course is text and illustration only, which means it can be printed out and studied at leisure. There is also a short exam that must be passed to obtain credit; this is available online only. The course can also be taken at the IAME Web site, www.iame.com, where physicians will also find opportunities to sign up for any of the six in-person conferences the organization will be holding around the country between now and the end of the year.
Medsite Partners with Journals
Online CME will soon be available to readers of three journals published by Medical Economics. Sponsored by the A. Webb Roberts Center for Continuing Education of Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas, the CME courses will be available at the Interactive Grand Rounds (IGR) page of www.medsite.com. The three titles are Contemporary OB/GYN, Contemporary Pediatrics, and Contemporary Urology. The courses will be promoted online and in print, and will be available at no charge to journal subscribers. This is the second such arrangement made between Medsite and a journal publisher. A few weeks earlier a similar announcement was made in conjunction with Oncology magazine. CME providers can expect to see more such deals, in which online health care information providers and journal publishers look to achieve synergies from their combined audiences.