Does continuing medical education in general practice make a difference?

Does CME in GP make a difference

Does CME in General Practice make a difference?

This article was from the British Medical Journal and was supposed to focus on noting whether or not CME makes a difference in general practice physicians. It was a lengthy article and I found myself having to read it twice to get all of the answers to the questions that my brain solicited. I decided to discuss some of the highlights of the article as I understood them to be and then to summarize the findings at the end.

One thing the article states is how much scrutiny is placed on CME presently. I would say this must be based on all of the different types and offerings that are available. Supposedly it has become something the medical community and government have been looking into related to the ‘enormous changes’ it has undergone as of late. Accreditation processes have been now placed into effect for some programs to assure quality assurance. As far as this goes I cannot say that it is a bad idea at all. I think quality assurance is a crucial part of any evaluation process. It keeps things current and makes sure that changes are either needed or not to maintain efficacy.

Another point the article discusses is that as far as general practice physician and the CME they do should be based on the actual work that they do. In essence to me this makes sense. Why would you have a physician who works in GP participating in CME that specializes in urology or neurology? It would make more sense for them to be at the pinnacle of the GP ‘game’ rather then focusing on specialties that they would rarely come into contact with-and when they did they would most likely refer to specialist anyway.

Needs assessment was also a huge topic in this journal. It only makes sense for a needs assessment to be done when looking at what types of education one may need, but I guess after reading this I was able to see some of the down falls that could also be noted. This article talks about how needs assessment should not be based on self-assessment. It shows that self assessment would not really illustrate the educational needs of the physician. Is this because they do not want to admit they need additional training? Do they not have the time? These were some of the questions that arose in my mind while reading. I can definitely think of some physicians I have been in contact with who would not admit they need additional training or education solely based on pride.

I am someone who lives out of my planner so this next thought really didn’t come as a huge shock to me. Towards the end of the journal the topic of reminders for physicians came up. This article stated that there was evidence of change when reminders were used for the staff involved in the CME the material that they learned was used and more effectively retained. Since I live out of my planner and with post-its, not a shocking idea to me. I think most people in the world live with the philosophy-‘out of sight, out of mind’. I know that I have so many things going on in my work, school and personal life that without reminders I would forget everything. You will also see these types of reminders with nursing care. Almost everytime we have an in-service in the hospital there is some poster made that is placed centrally to remind us all of the knowledge/information that was given to us.

Lastly, at the end of the article, they briefly touched on the purpose of the study/article. One of the last topics talks about how this article was based on general practice, but that the study really didn’t look into GP as a specialized category. This is when I had to re-read multiple times. so you are telling me that we titled and based the article on GP, but that we really did not do anything GP specific? Kind of frustrating. I would love to see what other get form this article as well. Thanks for reading, I look forward to your comments.


1 Comment

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One response to “Does continuing medical education in general practice make a difference?

  1. It does sound like it was frustrating for you. I would also disagree with the authors in that I believe, if done correctly, self-assessment can be successfully used in needs assessment efforts as long as the respondents are answering the questions honestly.

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