AHA: Hospital CME must focus on improving, aligning care

Hospitals fully fund more than a third of all continuing medical education (CME), but some wonder whether they get their money's worth.

Hospitals fund about 35 percent of all CME and about 38 percent of all CME hours, totaling nearly $1 billion a year, according to a new report by the Physician Leadership Forum, which is part of the American Hospital Association (AHA).

A survey of AHA members rated CME as highly valuable, averaging a score of 4.22 on a five-point scale, but it scored far lower in improving the care continuum and the efficiency of medical care. 

The report noted that "while many hospitals and health systems offer CME to their medical staff, historically it has been focused on the sharing of medical knowledge rather than developing professional and institutional competencies that might be necessary to transform care, improve outcomes, and practice efficiently and effectively in the hospital setting." The report added "that by focusing CME opportunities on gaps in delivering streamlined and cohesive healthcare, it can be used to improve performance and align the delivery system."

The AHA report comes as more phsyicians seek CME. The number of CME hours for healthcare professionals as an entire group increased in recent years, although physicians' use declined, according to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

The report recommended that state hospital associations work to better integrate CME offerings with state medical societies and develop more offerings to cultivate physician leadership. It also suggested that hospitals better align their CME offerings to advance their strategic goals and "engage physicians as partners in strengthening organizational competencies," and cultivate "physician champions" to promote CME in improving the care delivery.

To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)

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