What You Don’t Know About Your CME Software
Imagine if nobody had ever told you about smartphones.
There you’d be, drifting about with a flip phone. Since you’d be unaware that everyone around you could access GPS, social media, and email at any time using a device they kept in their pockets, you’d continue using a desktop device – or maybe the Rand McNally Road Atlas – for those tasks.
This might sound silly, and it is. But if you’ve been using the same CME software for many years, you’re probably in a similar situation.
You just don’t know what you’re missing.
Most CME software lacks even the most fundamental features.
If there’s one thing that’s been a constant in the continuing medical education (CME) technology space over the years, it’s this: many CME administrators don’t yet realize how easy administration can be.
The problem? Their software.
Once you get used to using something, it can become difficult to imagine using anything else – especially if you don’t realize what else is out there. Unfortunately, most CME administrators and learners are stuck with one or more of these:
- Outdated homegrown CME systems that made sense in 2011 but don’t make sense now
- “One-size-fits-all” learning management systems that weren’t built for the unique demands of CME providers
- Multiple systems for different processes; for instance, a provider might have one system for content, one for assessments, one for eCommerce, and/or one for credit management
- Some type of system that does one thing pretty well (CME activity assessments, for example) but not much else
When you’re using one of the systems described above there are a few different results you can expect, none of which are ideal. Here are a few things you may not realize about your current CME system.
1. It isn’t collecting enough data.
If assembling usable data is a manual process at your organization, you’d fare better with CME software that collects all relevant data for you.
Basically, your software should be capable of gathering data that you can actually use to make business decisions. Learner and activity metrics can and should be a major influence on the activities you choose to create, publish, and/or deliver to your learners!
Not only that, your software should handle all of your ACCME PARS reporting. You shouldn’t ever have to hunt for that data and paste it into a spreadsheet yourself. When CME software really is built for CME, it will take care of all that on its own. The same goes for ANCC NARS and ACPE CPE Monitor reporting, in the event you also offer CNE or CPE.
When your CME software doesn’t collect enough data, it’s practically guaranteed that…
2. It’s forcing you into spreadsheet purgatory.
When managing learner records, processing data, or updating credit info requires you to use a spreadsheet, you’re definitely working too hard.
One thing that never fails to impress CME administrators who are new to Rievent is the fact that they no longer need spreadsheets for, well… anything! At least, not anything related to CME.
If you’re using spreadsheets every day, you might not realize that modern CME software handles the following:
- All learner and activity data
- Certification management
- Transcript and certificate creation (and association with learner records)
- Credit processing
- Event attendance and credit awards
You shouldn’t be using spreadsheets to complete those tasks anymore. It takes too long, increases your risk of data loss, and keeps you from spending your time on more valuable work.
3. It’s preventing you from growing.
There are many ways your CME software can limit your ability to expand and grow, but here’s the biggest one: lack of support for different activity types.
Consider an association that traditionally hosts quarterly CME meetings. They’ve wanted to transition to more online CME (think on-demand/enduring activities) for some time now, and the COVID-19 crisis has forced them to create and deliver those activities quickly. The problem is that their existing software only supports event attendance and credit processing for attendees at meetings. They have to use something else for the online activities.
Or what about a medical journal that wants to offer webinar activities in addition to journal activities? Their existing software might be fine for delivery of written/published content, but it’s holding them back from being able to offer other activity types.
These hypothetical organizations are trying to do different things, but they have the same problem. Their software wasn’t built for a growing CME provider.
The solution, of course, is to migrate to a platform that supports all the CME you offer today and whatever kinds of CME you want to offer tomorrow. In other words, a dedicated CME system – not a generalist LMS or basic content platform.
4. Learners expect better.
You want to look as good as possible for your learners. To do that, you want all of these things to be as easy as possible:
- Logging in
- Finding relevant activities
- Registering for events
- Completing assessments
- Requesting credit
- Accessing certificates and transcripts
- Printing critical documents
- Accessing CME activities on any device
When any of those things aren’t easy for learners, you’re almost guaranteed to frustrate them. After all, they’re used to accessing information online quickly and easily. If they can’t log in, get everything they need, and log out, they’re not going to be very thrilled about the CME experience you’re providing.
In a 2018 JAMA article, ACCME President and CEO, Graham McMahon, and AMA Group VP of Medical Education, Susan Skochelak noted that:
Today’s learners increasingly and appropriately expect their education to be professionally delivered, tailored to their needs and their practice environment, and [supportive of] process and quality improvement.ACCME President and CEO, Graham McMahon
When learners feel like your software is clunky, you’re not going to meet their expectations. They won’t feel like the delivery is professional or tailored to their needs.
What you don’t know might be costing you.
It costs you in time spent dealing with spreadsheets, time hunting for files and data, time not dedicated to developing CME activities, and decisions made in the absence of data.
Another way it costs you? Learners you disappoint with a poor CME experience.
But here’s the thing. Now you know.
You know what your CME software should be capable of. You know you don’t have to keep fumbling through a sea of spreadsheets and multiple software interfaces just to manage activities.
The next step is selecting and migrating to a platform that handles all your CME and eliminates tedious administrator tasks. Getting started might actually be easier than you think! And if you choose Rievent, you’ll probably be up and running sooner than you expected.