CME outcomes have gone through about three different phases over the past five or six years. Looking back about five years, we were only collecting basic CME outcomes data, which included information on attendance, satisfaction, and bias. Then, about two to three years ago, we moved to assessment of learning and competence using statistical methods. Now within the last few years we are beginning to enter a new phase for CME outcomes, which includes collecting value based and audience specific outcomes. Given this new phase that we’re entering, let’s talk about three fresh ideas that we are incorporating and seeing put into practice in the field.
Let the Experts do the Talking
Often times we only view our faculty as subject matter experts who come to the activity, deliver the presentation and then leave, leaving us to do the outcomes and assessment. The result of this is that we really haven’t incorporated faculty fully into the CME outcomes data. One idea that we’ve recently implemented is to record faculty responses using a flip video camera on site at the conclusion of CME activities. We ask them simple questions, such as:
• What did you learn from this CME activity?
• What did you learn from the audience feedback?
• What do you think the audience learned?
• Where are there still needs for education in the future?
By recording that information we can then take that back and use it internally, as well as externally, to show where the education really met the mark.
It’s All About the Patients
We wouldn’t have CME without patients presented with healthcare problems, so we really need to analyze where and how education is linked to changes in practice, as well as patient behavior. We were doing CME activities in areas where there was a problem with patient compliance, and decided to team up with a local Colorado group called CPEA to analyze these issues. We were able to work with CPEA to survey patient support and advocacy groups to find out why patients weren’t talking the medications that they were prescribed, which really augmented our CME outcomes data.
Presentation and Communication of CME Outcomes
People no longer read twenty page reports about T-Tests and statistic speak. They’re really interested in, “What are the results?” What we advise is to focus on brief reports and visuals that show how practice actually changed from CME.
Now ask yourself, “Who should be interested in the results, or the CME outcomes, that we are developing?” It used to be that we were only interested in presenting data internally to the education team, whether that be at a hospital, academic center, or medical education company. However, CME outcomes should no longer just be prepared for internal stakeholders. Even if your education is funded by a grant from the federal government or a pharmaceutical company, we really need to think beyond the CME grants departments and look at who their partners are at their organizations, such as medical affairs or research. We need to focus the results of our CME outcomes to demonstrate to those outside the CME arena what impact CME has on practice, as well as patient behavior and patient results.
As always, if you have questions about CME outcomes or any other CME questions, you can contact us here.