Last week, Chris Walsh and Jenny Watts, members of PCM Scientific, the CME division of the Cogora Group, attended the European CME Forum (ECF) in Dublin, Ireland. 

The 3-day conference featured talks from CME-Celebrity Don Moore and representatives of several CME organisations. The conference covered all aspects of CME, from needs assessments to outcomes measures and educational styles to learner engagement, allowing attendees to stay focused and engaged.

A particular highlight was the “lunch with the learners” session, in which two physicians and a nurse answered questions from the audience – which was made up of CME-providers, industry representatives, accreditation bodies and QI (quality improvement) specialists. They revealed that their preferable learning styles are those that bring the entire inter-professional team together because if they learn together, they can implement changes as a team. This feedback was good news for PCM Scientific, as the majority of our programmes aim to educate the inter-professional team to bring about real clinical practice changes, and it is always a pleasure to hear feedback from the HCPs themselves.

Another hot-topic of the conference was collaboration. A new organisation, CME-EA, proposed their ambitious plan to bring together key CME-stakeholders from across Europe and to reach a consensus on what attributes high quality CME means. Through this they hope to improve the ability to reciprocate CME credits between organisations and countries. This would lead to closer alignment between Europe and the USA, which has a much more defined model of CME. It was met with mixed reviews, with some applauding their efforts and others questioning the feasibility of such a task.

Collaboration was also discussed in relation to building educational programmes. Other providers showcased programmes in which they had brought many different stakeholders together, including the provider, funder, learners, patients and universities, to produce programmes that were produced to an excellent educational standard, as well as respected due to the integrity of all those involved.

The way CME providers measure outcomes cropped up several times during the conference. The reliability of self-report was covered, as well as incentivising learners to complete feedback. The traditional model of credit designation was also touched on, with one organisation in the US - American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) – piloting a new approach whereby learners gain credits based on their competence, rather than the time spent on the learning experience.  More credits are given if the learner is able to demonstrate that they have implemented the education in a clinical setting, and less credits are given for a gain in knowledge. This approach proved controversial, with critics suggesting that it would be incredibly difficult to implement. However, those in favour argued it would mean learners would be less likely to treat CME as a “tick-boxing” exercise, and focus their time on areas they genuinely need to improve on.

Overall, the conference proved to be very interesting and questioned a lot of the basic ideas behind current CME in Europe.