I begin every January filled with hope and optimism — and then I make the same resolutions that I've made for at least 10 years. Many of us engage in similar endeavors, and when December comes around, we look back, sigh, and tell ourselves “next year.” This year, let's take a different approach: Why not develop a plan of action now, while the year is new, and make some collective CME industry resolutions? In that spirit, I offer resolutions to help us shape the future of our industry in the New Year.
The word “lobbyist” conjures up all sorts of reactions, but lobbyists are, in essence, advocates. Perhaps it's time for the CME community to consider creating a lobby. Why not organize so that we can educate government officials and the public that “Certified CME Is Different”? The Coalition for Healthcare Communication and the North American Association of Medical Education and Communication Cos. coined that phrase, put it on a button, and distributed it during the 18th Annual Conference of the National Task Force on CME/Provider Industry Collaboration. I believe it's a position on which we can all build.
Although the Senate Finance Committee's report on CME highlighted some noncompliant accredited providers, there are many more compliant providers, including those who achieve, reflecting their exemplary performance. As an industry, we can and should publicize this information, and maybe even share it with the Senate Finance Committee. Perhaps, some of the accredited providers achieving this recognition would be willing to share details of their best practices with government officials and their fellow CME providers, explaining the work they undertook to reach this level. As important as it is to point out the noncompliant providers, we also need to tout some positive examples.
This year, 2008, will begin my fifth year working specifically in CME/CE. As a relative newcomer, I continue to be an optimist. While we are facing big challenges in the coming years, when I look at the progress we're making, I believe we are up to the task. The proposed certification program for CME professionals is a huge advance that has the potential to further validate our profession. Although I didn't originally set out to work specifically in continuing medical education, this career has blessed me with many opportunities to learn more about the complex healthcare continuum of which we're all a part. The upcoming Alliance for CME Annual Conference theme is “Envisioning the Future: What You Need to Know for 2012.” I encourage my CME colleagues to make collective professional resolutions — ones that we can keep. We can use these resolutions to lay a foundation for our industry's success in 2008 — and to keep us headed in a positive direction through 2012 and beyond.
Ann C. Lichti is the assistant director of operations at Veritas Institute for Medical Education Inc. in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. Lichti has worked in CME/CE and clinical research for six years. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not constitute the views of Veritas Institute for Medical Education Inc.