Doctor’s professional career demands continuous learning. Every medical student completes either an undergraduate or postgraduate course and gets qualified. However, continuing medical education (CME) is a must legally and for regulatory purpose. Students have a curriculum to follow. But the qualified doctor must understand the timely need and keep updating their knowledge.
CME in Short
Continuing medical education, the studies were taken by medical professionals all through their career. To enhance their skills, competence, and performance, they undergo a short-term course. Doctors must know the latest advancement in the medical field to treat patients (Why: Because this helps them to treat patients more accurately etc.). Thus they undertake a course in the form of reading books, participating in live events. Also, they attend continuing medical education conferences and other online programs.
Introduction to CE
Every professional upgrade their skill. They take part in different conferences, live events, and meetings. Continuing education refers to experts sharpening the skills. They stay tuned with the advancement in the respective field of work. By involving in community forums, attending online courses, and reading publications, they achieve a continuous education.
Objective of CME
- Provides an opportunity to update skills and performance of physicians.
- Designs and implements educational courses to medical professionals. It helps them to understand different disease conditions and treatment methods.
- Suggests various medium that support doctors get self-learning materials.
- It develops print and electronic learning resource materials. Also, provides adequate knowledge to the general practitioners.
Implementation Of CME Programs
CME programs can happen in the form of
- Healthcare or Medical conferences
- Medical meetings
- Healthcare Meetings
What is Taught in CME?
The conferences share information about
- Latest Testing Techniques
- Ways to detect new medical conditions
- Advanced methods to treat any injury
- Recent surgical equipment and its uses
- Modern drugs, their use, and side-effects
In general, it continually offers information about every development in the medical field.
What is CME Credits Exactly?
Participating in CME will allow physicians/can be a nurse/ can be a medical field related to getting credit points. Every state’s medical council will allocate CME credit points. In several countries, it is mandatory to hold CME credit to retain their medical license. Physicians attend various medical conferences to obtain CME credits. Check the credit score before attending the course. For instance, American College of Radiology offers a class with a maximum credit of 21 under SAM and 22.75 under AMA PRA category.
Different Types of CME credits
1. AMA PRA Category 1 credits: American Medical Association Physician Recognition Award. Recognized as the metrics to confirm the participation of physicians in CME events. Only the AMA or CME those who have the Accreditation Council for continuing medical education (ACCME) or a recognised state medical society (SMS) offers AMA credits.
To obtain category 1 credit physician must take part in activities approved. Licensing board from 46 states collectively have authorised and provided accreditation. Only such CME can extend this credit.
2. AMA PRA Category 2 credits: On the other hand category 2 credits gets documented in self-learning. They don’t belong to the category 1 credit. Learners document on their own.
3. AAFP Prescribed Credit: American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) commission reviews the material and approves credit.
4. SAM Credits: Self Assessment Module (SAM) and live SA-CME credit are the same. SAM credits are prequalified by American Board of Radiology (ABR). SAMs are chiefly dais presentations followed by a post-session evaluation. ACCME determines the SAM credits.
Types of CE
Different types of CE include CME and CPD (Continuing Professional Development). Doctor’s community can stay updated about the medical field with these programs.
CPD refers to the process of continuous education and self-development for medical professionals. It helps them to expand their knowledge. Also, allows them to maintain the high medical standard.
CME, the educational activity continues even after graduation. It helps physicians update their medical skills.
When looked at the surface level both CME and CPD are the same. However, there are differences between them.
Essential Features of CME and CPD
Continuous education has different names across countries in the world. Irrespective of the name given the primary feature remains the same.
Every system depends on the course hours and credit scores. The three types of such events are
- External or Live Activities: Video or audio presentation, conference, seminar, meetings etc
- Internal activities: Discussion with peers, journal clubs, and case studies
- “Enduring” materials: Online courses, CD or printed material studies etc
CME Regulating Bodies
Medical professionals can maintain their license only by managing the CME credits. Most of the countries have imposed this regulation.
Canada: College of Family Physicians Canada (CFPC) (Link: http://www.cfpc.ca/), Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) (Link: http://www.royalcollege.ca/) offer the certification in Canada.
Australia: Australian Medical Council (Link: https://www.amc.org.au/), approves the credit for the continuing education.
UK: General Medical Council (GMC) (Link: https://www.gmc-uk.org/) has all the authority to confirm the CME in the UK.
India: Medical Council of India (MCI) (Link: https://www.mciindia.org/) in collaboration with CME makes all decision concerning continuous education in India.
Following Organizations Design and Develop CME Activities
- Professional associations: These professional bodies are not for profit organisation. A team of experts forms these associations. They design the CME activities keeping the interest of the public in mind. The doctor community can attend these activities and obtain the required skills. Every country will have several people associated with this committee to design the coursework.
- Medical education agencies: In US the medical education agencies develop CME with strict guidelines. ACCME and the SACME (Society for Academic Continuing medical education) describe the course of action. ACCME also provides authority to organisations like American Nursing Certification Center (ANCC) to design the course materials that fulfil the CME requirement.
- Hospitals: Hospitals arrange for several development programs to provide continuous learning to their physicians. They create opportunity and let peers talk to each other and involve in activities to learn.
- Educational institutions: Most of the educational institutions including colleges, universities, nursing colleges offer activities matching CME requirement. They organise several seminars and workshop to allow doctors community to learn new things even after graduation.
- Home study nursing continuing education providers: Western Schools offer a continuing education program to medical professionals. It was found in 1979 based in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA.
Western Schools offer continuing education home study courses in all the medical disciplines. Such as nursing, dentistry, psychology etc. This company has obtained accreditation to provide continuing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Commission.
CME Activities: In Simple words
In this section, you can understand the different CME activities and how they differ from each other
- Live CME Conferences: Live events happened at different locations, and one can earn CME credits by attending them. Live events will allow physicians to meet other doctors and gain more insights about their specialisation.
- Online CME conferences: Online courses also yield the same result as live conferences. But face to face meeting cannot happen. Also, it is not possible to get doubts clarified instantaneously. But one can attend many online courses as there is no need to travel. Check cmelist.com for online classes that will help you earn CME credits.
- Board review courses: Professionals planning to appear for board exam can make use of the board review course. They will also get CME credits by attending these classes. These classes will focus on a detailed study of each topic. Reach out to the best board review course accredited by ACCME.
- Cruise Conferences: Can you imagine earning 14 CME credits along with your family on vacation. Yes, cruise conferences offer that privilege. Physicians travel with family and still learn new advancement in the medical field. It is expensive compared to other CME activities. But one can spend time with family and relax.
- Medical journals or Journal CM: Practice journal offers the opportunity to learn and earn credits. Every physician can read articles and answer quiz using the Practice Management page in CMELLC.com. Earning 12 credits in a year is possible.
- Webinars: Webinars will kill the boredom of looking at the static text. You can learn from the narration and graphics. Check CMElectures.org for several lectures. You must subscribe for it annually with a nominal fee and earn CME credits.
- Podcasts: Earning CME credit is possible on the go. You can download CME podcast on your iPod. CMEpodcasting.com is a healthcare communication company offering podcast fulfilling CME requirement.
Benefits of CME Credit Points
- The primary benefit of CME credit is to maintain the medical practitioner license.
- It qualifies every doctor to stand at the same level.
- Each physician gets a chance to enhance and share their knowledge.
- Credit points motivate the doctor community to network with other doctors.
- CME credits improve a physician’s medical practice. Keep physicians informed about recent development in treatment methods and technological advancement.
Who Must Attend Medical Conferences
Every doctor must attend the medical conferences. You may start working as a doctor after graduating from medical universities. You can enhance your knowledge and understand latest advancements by participating in medical meetings.
Also, faculty in the medical field must attend medical conferences. If you update your skills, then you can educate several students and produce quality doctors to serve the society.
Even nurse and healthcare professionals must participate in CME to cope up with the latest development in the medical field.
Finally, researchers in the medical field also attend medical conferences. As a researcher, you can incorporate the latest change in your research activities.
It is also a great chance to refine skills, network with experts in the field as well as peers, and keep up to date with the latest medical trends and technology.
CME is a professional way to update your skills and grow knowledge base.