The Rievent Blog

Exploring the latest developments in continuing professional
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The AMA is Streamlining CME Administration. You Can, Too.

by The Rievent Team

Streamline Administrastion

Could your CME reporting stand to be simplified? The American Medical Association (AMA) sure thinks so.

Last year, as part of its collaboration with the ACCME, the AMA decided to reduce the number of CME learning formats from 7 to just 3. The AMA also simplified the requirements for all three types in an effort to emphasize learning over rote regurgitation of information (think post-tests).

By reducing administrative requirements, the AMA hopes to make it easier for education providers to focus on delivering quality CME. But institutions like the AMA need not be the only ones promoting more straightforward CME administration. As a provider, you can use technology to make CME faster to deploy, easier to track, and less time-consuming to manage.

Automating your way to CME simplicity

Can you really make CME administration simpler? After all, there are a lot of moving parts to address.

Among those moving parts are the technical hiccups and administrative delays that abound in many CME organizations. Those problems include, but certainly aren’t limited to:

  • Multiple apps or websites for CME content, learner accounts, and event management
  • Waiting periods for learners who request transcripts and certificates
  • Limited activity data and reporting tools
  • Manual attendance, reporting, and credit management processes that take hours, days, or weeks to properly complete

It’s likely – no, definite – that your staff would save hours of time each week if you could automate these tasks. And guess what? You can.

Just as the AMA is simplifying CME management at the highest levels, you can simplify it internally by taking advantage of CME-focused technologies. Your learners will also benefit because they’ll have fewer applications, waiting periods, or interface issues to contend with.

Basically, your software can do all the heavy lifting. Not you.

So, how do you get there?

The “how” is the biggest stumbling block, isn’t it? The first step is to assess what your technology needs to do vs. what it isn’t doing today. You can ask yourself these questions:

  • How many applications should my learners have to use in order to participate in CME? Ideally, the answer will be one. However, many CME providers use different applications for learner account management, CME activities, CME content, and event scheduling.

  • Can your CME system generate the reports you need for your accrediting body? Meeting reporting requirements is a laborious task for many CME providers. Your technology should be able to generate exactly the reports you need, whether that’s for ACCME PARS data, ANCC NARS reporting, or submissions to the ACPE’s CPE Monitor.
  • Do CME professionals manually handle certificate and transcript processing? If they do, your technology clearly doesn’t. This is a relatively straightforward task to automate with the right software.
  • Does my CME data provide a clear picture of activity quality, learner participation, and other metrics? In other words, is the data generated by your CME software helping you make business decisions about CME activities.
  • Could our team make CME more valuable if they didn’t spend so much time completing administrative tasks? This might be the most important question of all. In the end, you want the time gained due to automation to be used for the purpose of improving CME.

You may determine that your existing CME technology doesn’t do the things you need it to do or does the things you need it to do, but poorly. When that’s the case, the next step is to assess your options. Select a CME learning management system that:

  • Consolidates all learner and administrator tasks: Learners should be able to handle all CME-related tasks using one piece of software. Administrators, too, should be able to complete all of their tasks using the same software.

  • Assembles reports for accrediting bodies: This is something you definitely should not be completing in a manual fashion. CME-centric software should fulfill all reporting requirements for you.
  • Puts learners in control: Tasks like generating certificates and transcripts are things learners should be able to do without asking. The same goes for browsing available CME activities, participating in those activities on their own schedule, completing all assessments, and registering for events. When learners handle all of these things themselves, you don’t have to.
  • Awards credit automatically: There should be nothing for you to do after a learner completes an activity. The learner should receive the right type of credit upon successful completion of a post-test or concluding task.

  • Supports all types of credit: If you award different types of credit to different types of learners, your software needs to support them all.

The result of all this automation? Better CME and better health outcomes

The “how” is automation. The “why” is higher quality CME activities, more engaged learners, and better real-world clinician performance.

Today, leadership at the AMA and the ACCME are pursuing changes to simplify CME processes to benefit learners and, ultimately, the practice of medicine. You can be a part of those changes, too. By assessing the role technology plays (or fails to play) in how you manage CME, you can reshape your operation to better serve learners and improve outcomes among their patients.