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How becoming an accredited CME provider can benefit your organization

Blog
Article

The benefits of CME don’t just apply to physicians — health care organizations can reap myriad benefits.

continuing medical education | © Maks_Lab - stock.adobe.com

© Maks_Lab - stock.adobe.com

Artificial intelligence, the dramatic and devastating rise of fentanyl, mental health and mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and the rise of Ozempic and Wegovy – these are just some of the recent developments that have upended the usual practice of medicine.

Medicine is, and always has been, a rapidly evolving field. While doctors receive years of extensive education and training before they practice as licensed physicians, the rapid pace of change in medicine requires that they continually educate themselves about their field. That’s where continuing medical education – commonly known as CME – comes in. CME consists of educational activities that serve to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession.

But the benefits of CME don’t just apply to physicians. Health care organizations can reap myriad benefits from CME. This is particularly true when they decide to become accredited CME providers themselves, allowing them to develop and curate their own CME offerings. Here are just a few reasons organizations should consider becoming accredited CME providers.

Intellectual growth and improved care

At a basic level, CME is a requirement for licensure, with physicians required to take a specific number of CME credits that varies by state. But it can also be much more than that: Continually engaging in CME offers a way for physicians to improve and grow in their capacity as care providers. Most physicians are by nature lifelong learners, and CME offers them a chance to reinvigorate their passion for learning and providing the best possible care for their patients. Many physicians reap extensive and long-lasting benefits from CME – for themselves, their patients, and their organizations.

Cost savings through best practices

Whether you are a nonprofit, health plan, or hospital system, you want to ensure that physicians are performing at their best and staying up to date with the latest knowledge in their specialties. By keeping health care providers informed of best practices, CME helps to reduce errors during treatment. This leads to fewer readmissions, fewer complications, and fewer lawsuits – all of which in turn lead to lower costs and greater savings for the organization.

Team building and community

Collaboration during CME helps to build the cohesiveness of the healthcare team and create community – both internally within your organization and externally with your community. Additionally, while CME courses are targeted at physicians, in recent years there has been an increase in demand for – as well as an accompanying shift towards – CME offerings that share best practices for team-based care involving physicians working collaboratively with other clinicians. The American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award Credit (AMAPRA Category 1 CreditTM) that accredited CME providers offer is accepted by many allied health licensing boards in addition to the Medical Board of California.

Flexibility and ability to provide tailored courses

Becoming an accredited CME provider allows you the flexibility and nimbleness to craft continuing medical education most relevant to your physicians. For example, CME offerings can be focused on a particular specialty or working in a specific facility or setting. Accredited CME providers can also tailor CME to be provided in the modality of their choosing – whether it be webinars, in-person events, online webinars, or courses taught by subject matter experts – and offer as much education as their organizational needs dictate.

Job satisfaction and reduced burnout

All the above lead to increased satisfaction, improved retention of staff, and less burnout for healthcare teams. In fact, a recent study examining the connection between continuing medication education reduce burnout among physicians found the following: “[Continuing education] is an important resource for healthcare professionals and helps combat burnout in a manner that is highly cost-effective … learning, skill development, and intellectual growth are satisfying and invigorating for healthcare professionals and represent a meaningful opportunity for health system leaders to make an impact. Greater participation in [continuing education] has been demonstrated to be associated with lower burnout, and vice-versa.”

We regularly hear that physicians thrive on continuing learning, and when CME is designed well, it helps them keep engaged, reduces burnout, and helps them successfully treat patients with optimal outcomes. These are especially important issues given our physician workforce shortages and the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on health care workers.

To learn more about CME, including how to become an accredited CME provider, please visit cmadocs.org/cme.

Lupe Alonzo-Diaz is Vice President of Continuing Medical Education for the California Medical Association (CMA). Juliana Hinch is the Senior Director of Medical Education for CMA.

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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health