Independent medical education (IME) is something you may be familiar with, particularly accredited continuing medical education (CME). But when deciding what kind of education to support, why should you choose IME/CME?
1. Because clinicians prefer the format
In a survey of 1417 US healthcare practitioners (HCPs),1 98% of respondents said that CME activities helped them to improve patient care. In this same survey, CME was ranked as the most valuable source of information, edging out even journal articles and publications.
A similar trend is being observed in Europe, where HCPs demonstrate a clear preference for education from a non-promotional source. For practitioners who require CME credits as part of their role, 42% significantly exceed the number of required credits per year; similarly, 87% of practitioners not required to participate in CME do so anyway.2
2. Because CME can discuss novel data and their implications
Continuing medical education can educate on both current and future patient care, provided it follows three principles: evidence, fair balance and non-promotion.
Evidence: all statements must be supported by clear scientific evidence
This includes clinical trial data, real-world evidence and meta-analyses
Fair balance: all relevant therapeutics must be discussed alongside one another
This can include within-class therapeutics, between-class therapeutics and/or diagnostics, depending on the specific topic at hand
Non-promotion: generic drug names must be used to ensure there is no promotion of specific treatments
In addition, no branding can be displayed, including logos and colour schemes
Ultimately, this allows for practice-focused discussions surrounding clinical trial data and their implications on patient care. These discussions help HCPs keep up to date with developments in the field by increasing their knowledge of the most up-to-date science, allowing for more rapid uptake of new techniques and therapeutics.
3. Because CME improves patient care
The end goal of any CME activity is improvement – specifically, improvement with a purpose. Whether the activity bestows new knowledge, enhances competence or changes practice, the ultimate goal is to assist HCPs in helping their patients.
Three items underpin any CME activity: identification of an educational need, drafting of learning objectives to address these needs, and evaluation of whether these learning objectives are met. This means that, by design, any CME activity must have a measurable impact on its audience.
By providing arms-length support for CME programmes, supporters can provide a source of new information that will ultimately impact patient care.
There is a wealth of reasons to support IME/CME programmes – far too many to list in a blog alone. However, to provide something of an answer to our titular question: IME/CME offers clinicians novel data in a format they prefer to ultimately improve patient care.