Cogent Healthcare Inc., a provider of inpatient care management programs, has announced the addition of a new online course to its Continuing Medical Education program for the practicing hospitalist, the first Internet-based CME program especially designed for hospitalists by hospitalists.

``Our CME programs are unique in that they focus on the perspectives and issues encountered by hospitalists,'' said Michael Rovzar, MD, project chair and vice president of physician education for Cogent Healthcare. ``We hope to develop topics that are derived from the real-world experiences of dedicated inpatient physicians into educational initiatives that will enhance inpatient care delivery and help clinical providers improve the level and consistency of their day-to-day practices.''

The practice of hospitalism -- in which specially trained physicians focus solely on caring for hospitalized patients -- is fast becoming the accepted model for inpatient care in the United States.

``Antithrombotic Therapy for the Hospitalized Patient: Secondary Prevention Initiatives in a Hospitalist Model'' will be hosted on Cogent Healthcare's Web site along with the first CME course, ``New Strategies for Inpatient and Outpatient Deep Venous Thrombosis Management,'' which remains available through April 30.

It is a three-part course addressing secondary prevention strategies in patients with cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular disease, which may be taken for one to three credits. Faculty are Michael Rovzar, M.D.; Jose Biller, M.D., chief of neurology services, Indiana School of Medicine; James J. Ferguson III, M.D., associate director of cardiology, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston; and Michael Weiler, M.D., hospitalist, Riverside Community Hospital, Riverside, Calif.

Unlike many online CME programs, Rovzar noted that the Cogent courses are offered free of charge. ``We're committed to offering programs of this caliber to dedicated professionals, without having them incur any extra expense,'' he said. ``By doing so, we're helping them to provide enhanced inpatient care.''

The Postgraduate Institute for Medicine will be the accredited CME Administrator for these programs. The program is underwritten by unrestricted educational grants made available by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi Pharmaceuticals.

As an added feature of the CME program, Cogent is hosting an Internet bulletin board to serve as a resource center where important references designed to enhance the CME courses will be posted. For the first month of a course's availability, participants may post discussion questions to which the faculty will respond. After 30 days, the text of the discussions will remain online for site visitors to access at www.cogenthealthcare.com.

``The Internet bulletin board is important in developing a virtual community of hospitalists on a global level,'' noted Rovzar. ``We believe it promotes clinical excellence by giving inpatient physicians a venue for communication with faculty members and with their peers on clinical care issues.''

The Cogent CME program will be fully accredited by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine. Clinicians, including physicians, nurses and pharmacists, who complete a course and submit the post-test and evaluation will be eligible for continuing education credit. Antithrombotic therapy carries one to three hours of CME category 1 credit for physicians, one to three (0.1-0.3 CEUs) for pharmacists and one to three contact hours for nurses.

Future courses on blood management for the hospitalized patient, chest pain and the acute coronary syndrome patient, and pain management are also planned.

The Cogent Web site address is www.cogenthealthcare.com. Cogent Healthcare Inc. is located at 23282 Mill Creek Rd., No. 300, Laguna Hills, Calif. 92653; telephone 949/699-6000. For more information about the CME programs, contact Dr. Michael Rovzar at rovzar.mike@cogenthealthcare.com.