Subscribe to Clinical Compass™ Volume 3, Issue 25 - December 2, 2008

Get the Facts About CME

by Jan Perez

Concerns about conflict of interest and bias in CME have raised questions about medical education in the minds of clinicians, regulators, and the general public. Is there really a difference between certified continuing medical education and independent promotional activities regulated by the FDA? After reading reports in the press and from legislative hearings, do you wonder if CME is influenced by pharmaceutical funding? Have the appropriate checks and balances been applied to the educational activity in which you are participating to ensure it is balanced and objective? These are all valid questions that as educators, consumers, and stakeholders in the CME community we may, and should, be asking. As these questions are posed, it is critical that the answers accurately reflect current CME practices and not misinformation or misrepresentation.

In an effort to address misinformation and elucidate the facts, the National Task Force on Continuing Medical Education Provider/Industry Collaboration has begun a national campaign called Get the Facts! This campaign is focused on disseminating the facts about CME and ensuring these facts are accurate and appropriately reflect current processes and standards, while also recognizing the impact that quality CME can make on patient care. Members of the National Task Force represent key stakeholder groups including, but not limited to, the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education (ACME), Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education (SACME), Association for Hospital Medical Education (AHME), the Coalition for Healthcare Communications, and the pharmaceutical industry.

CME Outfitters (CMEO) fully supports The National Task Force on Continuing Medical Education Provider/Industry Collaboration Get the Facts! Campaign and commits to joining them in taking actionable steps to distribute factual information about CME that focuses on improving care for patients. As an accredited provider of continuing medical education with Accreditation with Commendation status, CMEO has a reputation for developing best-in-class education as rated by physician participants and our external review boards. All content developed is evidence-based and focused on improving clinician knowledge and/or performance. As an engaged member of the CME community, CMEO is also committed to providing faculty, participants, and stakeholders with the facts regarding our policies and processes for managing conflict of interest and commercial bias in our activities. In addition to supporting Get the Facts!, CMEO also supports the National Faculty Education Initiative developed to train faculty on the difference between certified CME and promotional education. CMEO requests that all faculty involved in CMEO activities complete this online training module.

We have created a new resource area at outlining our best practice initiatives. At the new resources page, you will find the CMEO Content Review Process, Get the Facts! information regarding CME, and a link to the National Faculty Education Initiative. We encourage you to visit this resource page to fully understand the rigorous processes CMEO applies to our educational activities. We remain committed to our goal of improving clinician knowledge and/or performance in patient care and we encourage you to provide us with your feedback on how we can improve our activities or how one of our CME/CE activities may have helped you to improve the care of your patients.

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