CME Professionals Have Performance Gaps Too

August 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

From time-to-time I am asked to review grant request seeking support for CME activities. Recently I had the opportunity to review a nine requests seeking support for CME activities in a specific therapeutic area. Applicants could apply for the grants through one of the myriad of online grant application systems we all have come to either love or hate. This particular system asked applicants a series of questions that provides the granting agency information that would be required to meet ACCME accreditation and AMA CME credit requirements.

After asking the applicants the title and proposed target audience for the project they were asked two questions:

  • What is the professional practice gap your project will address?
  • How do you know that your target audience has this professional practice gap?

With the exception of one applicant, the answers showed a definite lack of understanding of what comprises professional practice gaps. The most common response to the questions referred to the prevalence of the medical condition of concern in the patient population in their service area. Not one word was said about the capabilities or lack of capabilities of the target audience in screening, diagnosing, or treating the medical condition. These applicants completely missed the boat regarding what constitutes a professional practice gap. Remember, these applicants are CME “professionals” working in accredited CME provider organizations. These CME providers demonstrate a clear professional practice gap of their own.

The groups providing funding for CME initiatives know the CME requirements imposed on CME providers. They expect CME providers to demonstrate an understanding of these requirements. When we submit funding requests demonstrating a clear lack of understanding of the most basic requirements in our enterprise it is no wonder these projects are summarily rejected. We need to get our individual and collective acts together. We are demonstrating our deficiencies every time we submit proposals that show we don’t get it.

CME professionals must be able to demonstrate a working understanding of what is required of accredited CME providers to offer approved CME activities. For example, as demonstrated in the proposals I reviewed, if we don’t even know what constitutes professional practice gaps and how to measure them we have a huge performance gap of our own. (By the way there were other things that these folks demonstrated they didn’t understand) These gaps absolutely must be addressed. Current CME staff not possessing the basic skill set to operate a CME program in compliance with ACCME expectations need to get the skill sets or get out of the business. There are lots of resources to help us acquire and develop these skills. Use them or we need to lose you.


Entry filed under: ACCME, Accreditation, CME, CME Issues, CME People, Continung Professional Development, Improvement, Pharma Funding.

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