What is Independent Medical Education (IME)?
IME is often accredited, and therefore has to meet a variety of criteria. It is normally supported with an “at arms-length” grant and the content is led by expert faculty, so there’s no company involvement in any of the content development or faculty selection.
Content has to be fair and balanced. For example, in a specific therapeutic area all of the treatment options within that category must be mentioned so that no individual medication or type of device is actively promoted. If accreditation is sought, it is then reviewed by the appropriate accreditation body.
How well do HCPs engage with IME programmes?
They engage really well. Most HCPs, especially doctors, are required to gain ongoing CME or CPD credits, so that’s part of the attraction, but more importantly they really do value the fair and balanced nature of the content. In a survey conducted in the US market a few years ago, IME was the number one choice of learning, even above journal articles and publications.
Who is Liberum IME and what sets you apart from other agencies in the IME space?
Liberum IME is an independent medical education company that provides bespoke, innovative programmes based on the core principles of good CME practice in conjunction with expert faculty.
I’ve already mentioned the requirements to make content IME, but at Liberum we go above and beyond because we really want to provide quality education, by using our expertise in adult learning principles, along with our creativity.
IME/CME has been expanding in Europe and hence there are some providers such as Liberum who are working to set the standards and raise the bar for quality IME/CME. The Good CME practice group (gCMEp) was founded for that reason. We are members and we adhere to four principles of good independent education:
- Making sure education is appropriate
- that it’s fair and balanced
- transparent and
Let me explain further as to what these principles mean: appropriate education means that everything that we do originates from a thorough and up-to-date needs assessment. We then create learning objectives based on the needs to design programmes that follow the best practice principles for adult education.
The education must be fair and balanced. For example, if we are addressing a particular treatment option, we must discuss all of the therapeutics in the class, not just one in particular. We employ a peer review system to ensure this happens.
We also follow the four principles by being open about where the funding comes from, this wasn’t always the case in IME/CME in the past.
Most importantly we measure how effective our programmes really are – whether it’s knowledge change or even a clinical practice change. Again, this is something that is quite new in Europe.
We’re always looking for ways to invest in techniques that will appeal to HCPs and follow best practice for adult learning. Several members of the team, including myself, have degrees in education which inspires us to look a bit differently as to how we deliver our scientific content.
Can you describe some of the most interesting IME projects you are working on?
We have a proprietary programme we’ve developed called Classroom to ClinicTM (CtoC) and are currently using it in the “blended learning” space with a combination of live and online sessions. CtoC uses small group learning situations which are very appealing to many clinicians.
It also utilises technology and digital tools to get these resources out to individuals who are unable to attend live meetings and congresses. CtoC gives remote HCPs the opportunity to actually become teachers as well as learners, and utilise expert led content that they might not otherwise have access to.
What is the future of IME?
It’s very much tied to the future of healthcare. I sit on the board of GAME which is the Global Alliance of Medical Education and we have just run the “Futurist Forum” where we bought futurist thinkers together, not only in the education space, but in the fields of healthcare and technology, because the intertwined nature of healthcare.
By looking at futuristic things that are already impacting healthcare for example artificial intelligence, and personalised medicine, , we have a real opportunity for IME to make an impact on both medical education and healthcare in general.
There will be many more “small group” or personalised training, more point of care learning and a focus on what might have traditionally been called “soft skills” such as communication and “patient awareness” as these will be of greater value to both doctors and patients, so how we deliver education will become even more important.
So, I think that’s where IME is moving towards, striving to take fair balanced education to the next level as healthcare continues to evolve.