A recent article from MDnews highlighted a new online tool, known as “MedNews Plus“, a service of MedPage Today which “is helping Kansas physicians stay up to date and informed as well as providing easy access to” continuing medical education (CME). Such a tool is critical given that it is extremely difficult for physicians to find the time and resources to keep their practice and skills up-to-date with all the latest developments in science and medicine, as well as the increased administrative and documentation burdens brought on by health information technology and the Affordable Care Act.
To discuss the new online tool, MDnews interviewed Steve Nesbit, DO, Chief Hospital Medical Officer for Via Christi Hospital in Wichita, Kansas. Nesbit explained that MedNews Plus is “an online educational tool that is ideal for busy physicians, physician assistants, nurses or anyone interested in keeping up with the latest medical news and research. It offers subscribers breaking medical news and continuing education credits — all completely customizable by specialty or areas of interest.”
He noted that “the peer-reviewed content is updated daily and comes from trusted sources, such as medical journals, conferences and newswires. You can earn and track CME credits online, and all content is certified for the Category 1 credits by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and CE-certified by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.”
Nesbit explained that Via Christi Hospital is offering the tool because it values physician-patient relationship and understand the demands of a hectic practice. “With so much medical information so easily available to patients, it’s important for physicians to stay informed about breaking medical news. MedNews Plus helps ensure that physicians are aware of the latest research in medical journals as well as what topics are being discussed on popular medical TV shows, such as “Dr. Oz.”
The number of emails a healthcare professional receives each week is determined by the specialties you select. “Some categories, such as cardiology or surgery, may have breaking news every day, and other specialties, such as emergency medicine, produce news only once every four or five days. At most, you will receive only one email per day, which aggregates all your breaking medical news — even if you have selected several specialties,” Nesbit commented.
Healthcare professionals can subscribe to as many specialties as they like, and will receive an email only if there is an update in that specialty. “You will always, however, have access to all the breaking medical news on the MedNews Plus website, regardless of specialty.”
Nesbit also noted that doctors of osteopathy are can obtain CME credit. He explained that each article in MedNews Plus is eligible for 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 credits, which counts toward Category 2-B credit for DOs. According to the American Osteopathic Association website, “Category 2-B credit may be awarded to journal-type CME on the Internet that is produced by an AOA-accredited sponsor, ACCME-sponsor, or approved by the AAFP.” For DOs, Category 1-A credit is awarded only for interactive simultaneous conferencing CME on the Internet, which allows the participant to ask questions of the presenter in real time during or immediately after the presentation.
Healthcare professionals can test the MedNews Plus program by signing up to receive “breaking medical news emails as early as the next morning. Immediately after you enroll, you can access the site directly and begin taking CME credits and storing the credits in the online tracker. It’s free to subscribe, and you may unsubscribe at any time.”
To subscribe, Nesbit told professionals to go to: https://viachristi.mednewsplus.com/ and click on “New User” to get started.
Given the rapidly evolving healthcare environment and constant changes in medicine and science, an online tool that not only updates healthcare professionals but gives them credit for continuing education is an extremely appealing tool. CME providers and other entities that use online or enduring CME materials already know of the value of convenience such activities offer to busy physicians. While a certain amount of learning and skills are obtained from live, face-to-face interactions and questions with other physicians, online CME or tools granting such credit can provide a happy medium for physicians in the near future, particularly as many begin to adopt electronic health records or may be attempting other aspects of health care reform.
Interestingly, this kind of online tool is also likely beneficial to doctors who can tailor this service to receive alerts narrowed to the specific kinds of patients or disease areas for which they specialize to improve the focus of their continuing education. Narrowly tailored CME should hopefully improve patient outcomes and make more effective and efficient use of a doctor’s time, which is already in high demand and short supply.