At the 2003 Global Alliance for Medical Education conference, Angel Vázquez Hernandez, president, LiveMed S.A. de C.V., a Mexico City — based CME company, explained how his company partnered with Pri-Med in the United States to create Primary Care Update, a series of programs for primary care physicians in Mexico.
A key element to Pri-Med's success in the United States is the partnerships it creates with local organizations and thought leaders. LiveMed applied the same philosophy to Mexico.
“Physicians don't want to be conquered,” said Vázquez. “We have very good local opinion leaders and local institutions.” In addition to partnering with international institutions, such as Harvard Medical School, LiveMed partnered with the Mexican Academy of Physicians.
In contrast, to U.S. CME, CME in Mexico is usually commercial and unethical, said Vázquez. Adopting the U.S. model made obtaining commercial support difficult, but they managed to convince companies to come on board.
“It's not the same country, it's not the same economics, it's not the same way of doing CME. We didn't change the quality or the ethical part, but we had to tropicalize the concept,” he said.
Another barrier was that only specialty physicians were attending live CME. “A lot of people we talked to said that primary physicians would not study — and we proved them wrong,” said Vázquez. “Primary care physicians were eager to attend quality CME events.”
In the first year, LiveMed produced programs in 10 cities for more than 9,000 physicians. As of June 2003, the programs had attracted 15,000 physicians with many physicians on waiting lists.
Why did it work? “We're treating primary care physicians like specialists,” said Vázquez. “We treat them really well. We make them feel proud of being physicians, and that's what they didn't get before.”