I love technology, gadgets, and anything new and different — I even wrote this article on my spiffy new iPad, which I will love until something better comes along. The same holds true, mostly, when it comes to CME. While I don't look to replace older (read: proven) methodologies, I do look to enhance, update, and, most importantly, integrate. Let me explain.

Back in the last century (I love saying that), I was an early adopter of online delivery of CME activities. In fact, in 1997 I was with an organization that had a great URL registered — www.CME-CE.com — where we posted a great deal of content. And not just megatext like what was omni-present online then, but real, honest-to-goodness quality education. We navigated the world of certification carefully, as there were no guidelines for Internet-based CME and, in fact, no one really opined on how it should be treated.

Cut to 2010: There is a wealth of technologies, media, and platforms being used for all aspects of CME, from needs assessment through outcomes measurement. Even social media sites play a role in the CME world, as I have written about several times. But are we using the technology and platforms correctly? My answer: sometimes.

There are best practices for individual technologies, but what is missing is true, consistent integration of the technologies into strategic CME initiatives. We still find silos of practice, where great live and enduring activities are presumably “linked” but fall short of true integration. Are the learners assessed to determine which activities will fit their individual needs? Are activities developed by other providers included as potential additional, supplemental or — dare I say — replacement activities? Are outcomes data aggregated and compared based on an integrated ongoing assessment process? Are appropriate and intelligent collaborations formed in order to benefit learners and eventually patient outcomes?

The answer to all of these is, well, you tell me. Send an e-mail indicating where we are succeeding to LS@provaeducation.com. I'll include the answers in an upcoming column, and present the findings live and online at upcoming conferences.

I am trying to practice what I preach, but I need your help. I want to hear from accredited and nonaccredited providers, supporters, outcomes experts, delivery experts, learners, and any other unnamed stakeholders that my word count doesn't permit me to mention. Share your thoughts regarding integration and the current state of CME. Feel free to opine on why current CME activities are in need of improvement; or why you think they are not.

To quote a good friend and CME advocate, Brian McGowan, PhD, “We don't have to be revolutionary if we are evolutionary … but for those who think we have come far enough already, they are dead wrong.”

Lawrence Sherman, FACME, CCMEP, is senior vice president, educational strategy, with Prova Education, an affiliate of Omnia Education, Fort Washington, Pa. He is a frequent lecturer on topics related to the strategic development, dissemination, and evaluation of CME activities. Reach him at LS@provaeducation.com.

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Social Networking and CME

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