According to the Global Education Group, the ACCME 2009 annual report data showed that “increased competition for continuing medical education (CME) resources has produced fewer stakeholders that are more effectively delivering physician education.”
From this finding and their analysis, the Group asserted that the data “point to the fact that a competitive CME world is making certified education more cost effective.”
In addition, the data showed that commercial grant funding of CME decreased by 17.7% between 2008 and 2009, and from a high of $1.2 billion in industry grant funding for CME in 2007, the total amount of industry grant funding dropped 29 percent in the last two years to $856 million in 2009.
Although the data from 2009 “is the lowest amount of CME grant funding by industry since 2002, “the cost of CME has decreased, while physician attendance and participation continues to grow.” For example, there was an 18.5% decrease from 2008 to 2009 in the total cost per physician attendee.
Consequently, fewer stakeholders to effectively deliver physician education can lead to fewer options for doctors to choose CME programs from, especially for those physicians practicing in rural areas with less access to programs. Despite what appears to be cheaper CME for doctors, the reduction in number of providers and in commercial funding is disturbing, as we previously wrote.