Over the past several years, the continuing medical education (CME) industry has seen a significant shift towards focusing on not only high quality educational programs, but also ensuring that CME activities are going to be effective in changing professional practice and health care—in other words, showing outcomes.
We have written a number of times about CME programs that have had positive outcomes on improving evidence based care for hypertension, COPD, ICU patients, improved taking of family history by physician assistants, Sepsis, healthcare-associated infections, reduction in CT scans, and several other areas.
Adding to this list of positive outcomes, a recent CME program showed “statistically significant changes in participant knowledge and competence across a broad range of patient-care topics” regarding multiple sclerosis (MS). The program, offered by Med-IQ, included eight complimentary, regional CME/CE workshops designed for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses in the Fall of 2011. More than 290 clinicians attended across all eight workshops, and educational outcomes demonstrate favorable change in knowledge and competence as a result of the intervention. The activity was supported by an educational grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals.
The workshops were designed to be interactive, combining didactic presentations with small-group discussions that focused on patient cases, clinical trial data, and the latest diagnostic criteria and treatment recommendations for MS. Of the 293 participants, 36% were nurse practitioners, 25% were physicians, 19% were nurses, 14% were physician assistants, and 6% were other healthcare professionals.
At each workshop, participants’ knowledge/competence was assessed before and directly after the activity to measure immediate learning and changes in competence when compared with baseline data (Moore’s Level 4). Confidence in participants’ ability to select optimal therapies for patients with MS and to use neuroimaging and neurodiagnostic techniques to correlate the clinical and immunologic effects of MS therapies were also assessed before and after the activity. Results showed a positive change in participants’ confidence in both areas. As a result of the educational intervention, attendees noted their intent to implement the following practice changes:
- I will consider recent evidence on the impact of early pharmacologic intervention on disease progression when making management decisions for my patients with MS (28%)
- I will incorporate clinical follow-up and imaging techniques to identify and assess therapeutic response to DMT in my patients with MS (20%)
- I will use a comprehensive approach when evaluating and treating patients for MS-related symptoms (41%)
In addition, participants’ knowledge/competence was reassessed 30 days after the live activities were completed to measure retained learning and longer-term changes in knowledge and competence. Highlights of the findings show that, across most areas, participants who completed all three survey assessments demonstrated higher levels of knowledge and competence at the 30-day mark than they did before the educational intervention. Based on the success of this 2011 series, Med-IQ sponsored eight additional MS CME/CE workshops in the spring of 2012.
“Live, facilitated meetings offer peer-to-peer interaction that is critical to participants’ ongoing professional education, provide the opportunity to gain valuable insight into how peers address or overcome typical barriers to patient care, and enable participants to interact with and learn from subject matter experts,” said William A. Mencia, MD, CCMEP, Vice President of Education & Medical Affairs at Med-IQ. “Med-IQ is committed to improving healthcare quality in the United States by providing accessible, practice-focused CME/CE interventions such as this that are timely, effective, and relevant to clinicians’ needs and that address the issues that will lead to better patient care and reduced healthcare utilization.”