The transformation of continuing medical education (CME) in the United States
Jann Torrance Balmer
Continuing Medical Education, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, USA
Abstract: This article describes five major themes that inform and highlight the transformation of continuing medical education in the USA. Over the past decade, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and other national entities have voiced concern over the cost of health care, prevalence of medical errors, fragmentation of care, commercial influence, and competence of health professionals. The recommendations from these entities, as well as the work of other regulatory, professional, academic, and government organizations, have fostered discussion and development of strategies to address these challenges. The five themes in this paper reflect the changing expectations of multiple stakeholders engaged in health care. Each theme is grounded in educational, politico-economic priorities for health care in the USA. The themes include (1) a shift in expectation from simple attendance or a time-based metric (credit) to a measurement that infers competence in performance for successful continuing professional development (CPD); (2) an increased focus on interprofessional education to augment profession-specific continuing education; (3) the integration of CPD with quality improvement; (4) the expansion of CPD to address population and public health issues; and (5) identification and standardization of continuing education (CE) professional competencies. The CE profession plays an essential role in the transformation of the US CPD system for health professionals. Coordination of the five themes described in this paper will foster an improved, effective, and efficient health system that truly meets the needs of patients.
Keywords: continuing medical education, continued professional development, independence, competencies, CE professional
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