Awarding Continuing Medical Education Credits Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
If you’re a CME provider, processing continuing medical education credits probably isn’t one of your favorite tasks. Is it necessary? Yes. Is it quick and easy? No. And for learners, waiting on credits to process can be a tedious waiting game.
In other words, processing CME credits isn’t much fun for anyone. It takes time.
The good news is that many CME providers are automating the request for credit process. Following requests, they’re also awarding CME credits automatically. There’s no manual copy-paste, no data entry, and no waiting. As a result, these providers have more time to focus on what matters most: designing valuable and engaging CME activities.
Oh, and their learners are noticing.
Manual CME credit processing hampers progress
Even in environments where CME is offered online, learners often have a tough time getting certificates. That’s especially true when a provider offers various accreditation types requiring different types of certificates.
That was the case with AHC Media, which produces over 1000 CME activity hours annually. Just a few years ago, the company’s homegrown CME system was struggling to keep up with learner demands. After deploying a CME-focused learning management system, AHC Media’s learners are now able to request credit right away and download on-demand certificates without waiting on administrators to create one. They can also print transcripts by date range and activity type.
That’s a great outcome, but it’s really just part of the story. The benefits of automated credit processing extend well beyond learner and provider convenience. For example, AHC Media managed to expand its reach and enhance the competitiveness of its brand, in large part thanks to the advantages of automation.
Manual administrative processes, after all, are a huge hurdle to growth. By eliminating them, providers free up lots of time to do other things – like experiment with new types of CME, collect and use learner data, and develop outcomes-centered activities.
Long story short: Manual processes for CME credits could be limiting your ability to meet organizational objectives. And you might not even realize it’s a problem.
How automated continuing medical education credits work
So, how can you go from manual CME credit processing to an automated alternative? The route you choose depends heavily on the type of CME you offer:
- Online CME activities: Assuming learners access enduring and journal-based CME activities via your LMS, your software can award credit immediately following each learner’s successful completion of the activity’s post-test. Learners can view or print a certificate from the same online interface.
- CME live events: Following a live event, learners in attendance can request credit from any device. As the session concludes, provide them with a special code or URL that’s unique to that event. They log in to your LMS and enter the code. After that, they receive credit for attendance – there aren’t any sign-in sheets to contend with.
That’s how it works in the Rievent Platform. A code-based credit request process is especially useful for regularly scheduled series (RSS) at hospitals. Instead of performing data entry after every session, you can simply have learners log into their account and enter the code.
Everyone can just go home after that, CME administrators included.
Manuscript review CME credits don’t have to be hard either
If you provide manuscript review CME, you’re probably used to completely different, but equally convoluted, processes for awarding CME credits. Following a credit request, you record information about a reviewer and access it later in the year to fulfill the request. Maybe you print and mail a paper certificate.
But if your LMS supports it – and when you’re providing manuscript review CME, your LMS should support it – you can process credits like this instead:
- Record a credit request in your LMS’s administrator interface. You don’t have to enter data in a spreadsheet and keep coming back to it. Just enter it into the LMS, and it’s done.
- Process fulfillment automatically. When it’s time for you to fulfill a bank of credit requests, you can do so with just a few clicks.
That’s it. After you process fulfillment, learners receive their certificates via email. It all happens right away. You’ll capture all necessary PARS metrics in the background, so there’s no need to parse that data manually either.
Learner satisfaction? Definitely. But business benefits are the best part.
When you simplify and streamline the processing of continuing medical education credits, learners will definitely love it. It helps you provide a second-to-none CME learner experience, empowering learners and encouraging them to get more CME from your organization.
But it’s the business benefits that empower you, the provider. When you’re not recording attendance, sifting through spreadsheets, relocating misplaced emails, or spending your afternoon entering myriad data points, you’ll have time for other things.
What other things? Analyzing the robust data collected by your LMS, for starters. Then there’s creating, deploying, and reading your post-activity outcomes surveys; enhancing popular (and valuable) activities while redesigning less popular ones; curating useful content for journal-based CME; and expanding into new areas of CME, like live webinars or enduring materials.
All of those tasks add more value to your operation than processing CME credit. By automating the latter, you’ll have more time for the former.
And you’ll have more successful, impactful CME activities.