The Accreditation Council for CME’s new accreditation criteria were top of mind for many of the 1,820 attendees at the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education 2007 Annual Conference, held in January in Phoenix. Speaking at several sessions,Chief Executive Murray Kopelow, MD, explained the rationale behind the new guidelines and fielded questions about how to implement them.
“CME must contribute to patient safety and practice improvement,” said Kopelow. “We must ensure that CME is based on valid content, and the content needs to be independent. Physicians are being asked to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-assessment and lifelong learning. You’re being asked to do the same.”
He pointed to Criteria 11 and 12, which ask providers to analyze changes they’ve made as a result of their overall CME program and see to what extent they’ve met their mission. “Your net success is the extent to which you’ve met [learners’] needs,” he added. For the criteria needed to achieve, particularly Criterion 17, which requires providers to use noneducational strategies, “use information from peer review, reminders, patient feedback, incentives, and patient satisfaction questionnaires,” he said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be the CME department that does this. Does the accrediting body or the hospital integrate this into physician practice? Ask the quality-improvement department what you can do for them. They will like that.”
At the Hospitals and Health Systems Provider Section Meeting, participants shared their experiences collaborating with quality-improvement departments and other areas of the wider healthcare system. While no one said it was an easy transition, there were some success stories. "Who you get on your CME committee is critical," said one attendee. Kopelow added, "If [the quality-improvement office] doesn't invite you to their meeting, hold a meeting of your own about how to integrate CME into quality improvement and quality assurance."
One participant said, "We invited a QI person to be on the committee. He hasn't completely bought into it yet, but we have time."
Another person said that it's important to help physicians realize that getting involved in CME is to their benefit, particularly in terms of pay for performance and licensure requirements. Another respondent said, "I did a roadshow about how [physicians] can benefit from all this, and we got more of them interested in getting involved. I also go to all the physician orientations for new doctors, and we've had some say the first committee they want to be on is CME. It helps to say, hey, you can get credit for that."