In the recent edition of the American Medical Associations CPPD Report, Norman B. Kahn Jr., MD, EVP/CEO, for the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, discussed “The Conjoint Committee on Continuing Medical Education: National priorities for 2010.”
Dr. Kahn explains how the Conjoint Committee on Continuing Medical Education (CCCME) formed in 2002 consists of 16 national organizations spanning the spectrum of medical education and practice. The work of this committee includes strategic planning process that began in late 2008 and early 2009 to identify ways in which CME could help improve the U.S. health care system. Dr. Kahn asserted that because “physicians spend a limited amount of time in medical school and residency, and because the bulk of a physician’s career is spent in decades of practice,” the ongoing continuing education that physicians participate in is crucial for fixing health care.
As a result, CCCME set the goal of using “CME to improve the performance of the U.S. health system, by establishing a system of CME that is practice-oriented, evidence-based, system-minded and integrated into lifelong physician education. Consequently, the committee chose three strategies to achieve this goal:
Strategy 1: Moving toward the integration of performance improvement into CME
This strategy includes using leaders of CME and performance improvement (PI) to create a nationally standardized system that measures “physician practice performance, and to deliver educational interventions targeted to change practice behaviors.”
Strategy 2: Moving toward a curriculum for CME that aligns across the continuum of medical education
CCCME member organizations will “develop curricula based on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competencies” to tailor curricula to different levels across the continuum: system, specialty and practice,” in order to focus on gaps in individual practice areas.
Strategy 3: Leading a national conversation about financing CME that supports the CCCME vision
CCCME accepts the idea that a “new system of funding accredited continuing medical education that is free of industry influence” should be used to “enhance public trust in the integrity of the system, and to provide high-quality education.”
While the “centralization” of CME sounds more efficient, in reality medicine which science expands at an exponential rate benefits from diversity. It is important for the commission to consider the benefits of the current funding system and seek to find new funding sources especially in these hard economic times.