The Secret to Staying on Top of Changes in CME
In the continuing medical education (CME) world, things are always changing. From ACCME standards to macro-level trends in professional education, the industry is in a constant state of evolution.
So, what’s the secret to staying on top of these rapid-fire changes? Adaptation. More specifically, the ability to adapt quickly.
Organizations that can adapt quickly are typically those with the technological sophistication to take on whatever comes their way. Are more learners demanding a certain activity type? Great. Start creating and publishing more of those activities and fewer of the ones that are in less demand.
Is the ACCME requiring new information on this year’s annual report? No problem. Your software automatically integrates those standards, so you don’t have to revamp your workflow.
Five years of CME. Five years of effective adaptation.
At Rievent, part of our mission is to stay abreast of the constant changes in CME. When something comes along that affects our learner or administrator communities, we immediately get to work on whatever update is needed to eliminate that burden for the people using our platform.
Consider the following five CME changes that have occurred over the last five years, all of which required significant technological adaptation.
1. Expansion of MOC-eligible CME
In 2018, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) released fifteen recommendations for MOC programs, one of which was that ABMS boards should collaborate more closely with CME providers.
Historically, MOC-eligible CME has been hard to come by. The ABMS knows this and so does the ACCME. That’s why the ACCME created the CME Finder tool, which helps learners find CME opportunities that are also eligible for MOC.
All of this made MOC easier for learners to obtain. That’s good. But it also introduced a new administrative task to providers: MOC reporting and fulfillment.
At Rievent, we had already anticipated these changes and modified our platform to support them. In 2017, we released updates that allowed CME administrators to:
- Give learners the option to claim MOC after completing an activity
- Automatically associate MOC points with individual learners and add the points to providers’ PARS reports
- Transmit MOC points to the ACCME via a real-time web service so that the ACCME can verify the data and send it to participating medical boards
Basically, we were able to identify a type of in-demand CME credit that is gaining prominence and make it virtually effortless for CME providers to handle the administration surrounding it.
2. Diversity in professions
Today, many professionals seeking CME aren’t physicians. They’re also nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists. According to a 2017 ACCME report, there was a 90% increase in non-physician CME participation that year. What’s more, many of these non-physician learners prefer online activities to in-person ones.
So, how has Rievent adapted to address these changes in the CME landscape? By making it possible for any CME provider to deliver CME in a format that appeals to these cohorts.
Specifically, Rievent makes it easy for these (and all) learners to:
- Earn CME credits online without having to travel to a meeting
- Access all content, activity, and service features from one platform
- Simplify the process of selecting activities, participating, receiving credit, and maintaining your file
- Choose from an array of CME activity types without having to maintain separate accounts with multiple applications
In other words, Rievent includes all of the functionality required to meet the needs of these learners. It’s a scalable platform that gives you all the space you need to respond to changes in learner demand for CME.
3. Greater demand for online CME
Speaking of learner demand and virtual learning, the COVID-19 crisis is forcing more CME providers to deliver activities online. There was already increasing interest in online CME, but now it’s not just a “nice to have.” It’s a necessity.
In April 2020 we released an extended guide on taking your CME meetings online, including tips for repurposing recorded live events, converting talks into webinars, and creating enduring materials out of new or existing meeting lectures.
Again, Rievent has this flexibility built in so you can quickly respond to shifts in learner preferences and easily provide the types of CME they’re demanding.
4. Measuring outcomes
At a 2017 Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions meeting, ACCME President and CEO Graham McMahon noted that CME is not about offering as many credits as possible to your learners. It’s really about:
- Delivering high-quality learning
- Driving performance improvement
- Fostering skills development
In other words, the purpose of CME is to make medical professionals better at their jobs so that they can improve patient outcomes.
To that end, CME providers (and the ACCME, naturally) have a keen interest in measuring outcomes. Technology, thankfully, can accommodate. Rievent enables providers to assess post-activity performance change among learners via survey. Here’s how it works:
- A learner completes an activity and receives credit.
- In the weeks or months following activity completion, the learner receives a post-activity outcomes survey via email.
- The learner completes the survey, noting where he or she has (or hasn’t) modified real-world performance based on insights from the activity.
- Outcomes data is reported to CME providers in an easily downloadable, graphical report.
As the ACCME places greater emphasis on outcomes, providers need technologies that make it easy to assess learner performance. An automated post-activity survey and readily available report are as seamless as it comes.
5. Hospitals providing the most CME activities
Starting in 2015, Rievent began implementing changes that make it easier for hospital CME administrators to manage regularly scheduled series (RSS).
RSS activities, of course, are a CME mainstay at many hospitals. But managing RSS is also notoriously tedious, involving paper attendance records, spreadsheets, and numerous other complications for processing credits. It’s why Rievent was enhanced to include automated RSS credit processing.
Now all administrators have to do is show learners a unique 5-character code after an RSS session. Learners enter the code on the Learning Portal (accessed on their own device) to verify attendance and claim credit. Then their transcripts are updated in real time.
It’s a good thing we added support for RSS when we did. The ACCME’s 2015 Annual Report noted that hospitals offered the bulk of all CME activities that year: 45,302 to the 28,402 offered by non-profit organizations.
What’s next for CME?
We may not know what exactly is on the horizon, but there’s one thing we do know. Our dedicated CME platform already offers providers the flexibility to adapt to whatever comes their way.
And any time we have to roll out new functionality to meet those challenges, we do it. Every organization using Rievent enjoys the new features right away, so they can meet any new standard the ACCME creates and respond quickly to shifts in learner demand for CME.