PI CME – An Opportunity We Can’t Let Pass

February 17, 2010 at 9:48 pm Leave a comment

CME providers have an opportunity to make a significant difference in changing the culture of patient care. How? By embracing and offering “Performance Improvement CME” activities designed to support physician and other heath care provider efforts to perfect their patient care. Yes – perfect patient care.

providers are positioned to engage physicians in learning activities that will teach them things that will transform their practice. Offering opportunities for health care professionals to learn the skill set required to engage in effective improvement initiatives may be the most significant thing CME providers can do to demonstrate that CME can be an effective “Bridge to Quality”.

We have all heard the saying that goes something like, “Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. But teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime”. CME providers can do both. We can offer physicians one off PI CME activities like the PIM’s we see springing up all over the place. These resources are very effective in leading physicians through a guided process that may result in improvement in a specific therapeutic area. But does going through the process teach them the skills they can use to continue to engage in improvement initiatives? In my opinion, not very well.

We can also teach healthcare providers a systematic, sustainable, repeatable approach to improvement including a hand full of tools that they can master and use throughout their career to perfect their patient care. We need to have these skills ourselves and apply them to our own CME operations. What we can teach them is not rocket science but it is firmly based in the scientific method. It takes a little time and discipline to learn in the beginning but after it is mastered it can be used over and over again in virtually every patient care setting.

A number of years ago the field of CME had an opportunity embrace improvement thinking. We did not do it. We let an opportunity slip right through our hands. To be honest with you we didn’t have enough of the right people on the bus at that time to pull it off. We have a growing number of capable people getting on the bus now. We can do it.

CME can become a major player in efforts to improve the quality of healthcare delivery in this country. The pieces are there. Performance improvement is a “team sport”. We need to find the partners who have skills we need that compliment our skills to be effective in facilitating or leading improvement initiatives. We need to learn the skills ourselves. We need to engage the opportunity.

is an invitation. The National Institute for Quality Improvement and Education has established a web presence where we can develop a “Community of Practice” focusing on performance improvement. The site has a number of valuable resources to support our interests in PI. I encourage you to go to the site, join if you are not a member (it is free), find the Community of Practice and get involved. Together we can make good things happen in healthcare.

I hope we take every opportunity we can find to engage in improvement efforts. Not to do so will further relegate CME to the fringes of irrelevance. As for me I am jumping in head first. Come on in the water is fine.


Entry filed under: CME, Continuing Medical Education, Improvement, Physician Continuing Education, PI CME.

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