In anticipation of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act Roundtable that the U.S. Special Committee on Aging held earlier this week, the CME Coalition announced results from a survey showing that physicians highly value continuing medical education (CME) and are concerned that the Sunshine Act may have adverse effects on their learning. The survey included 515 physicians and was conducted 9/05-9/10, 2012.
The CME Coalition represents a collection of CME provider companies, in addition to other supporters of CME and the vital role it plays in our health care system. Member organizations manage and support the development of healthcare continuing education programs that impact more than 500,000 physicians, nurses and pharmacists annually.
In announcing the survey, the Coalition recognized that “many health care professionals indicated that the reporting requirements mandated by the proposed rule implementing the Sunshine Act will chill their participation in such courses.”
Almost 55% of physicians said they attended four or more CME programs in the last year, with another 30.6% having attended at least two. Over 70% had utilized online CME resources at least two times in the past year as well.
Almost 70% of physician respondents indicated that CME is “very important” to their ability to keep current with the practice of medicine, with another ~20% indicating it was important. Similarly, over 85% of physician respondents indicated that CME is important or very important to their ability to improve patient outcomes.
With respect to the Sunshine Act, 47% of physician respondents indicated that the public reporting of their attendance at a commercially supported CME event was reported as a “payment” would affect their decision to attend CME courses “to a great extent.” Another ~27% indicated it would “somewhat” affect their decision.
In addition, 46.6% of physician respondents indicated that if they would be less likely o participate in a CME event as a panelist or presenter “to a great extent” if any honorarium or travel expense they received from the sponsoring organization was publicly reported as a “payment.” Another 25.4% indicated that such reporting would “somewhat” make it less likely.
Finally, 60.7% of physician respondents indicated their belief “to a great extent” that healthcare companies should be encouraged to provide financial support to underwrite accredited CME programming and online resources, with another 28.2% “somewhat” held this belief.