By far, my most favorite article thus far. I think that I enjoyed this article for the sheer fact that it relates to my job specifically. The article talks about commercially supported CME and whether or not it enhances or detracts from the value of the actual education provided. It is funny, because in the last few years the commercial/national industry in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other medical specialty companies has become more highly regulated. Many laws and guidelines have changes to tighten the amount of commercially supported CME and products that are given out. This to me could mean commercially supported dinners, seminars, lectures as well as freebies or promotional items that companies would give out related to their product or CME seminar.
The article starts off saying that this topic has been looked at with ‘much emotion, but little data’, which I can totally agree with. It has been the BUZZ for a few years and the ‘crack down’ that has occurred seems to be a bit over the top in my opinion. It is noted in several to many studies that CME does produce the following three outcomes more often then not-knowledge gain (of the individual learning), physician performance and patient outcomes. It also states that there is no support anywhere that states what effectiveness the support or funding has on these 3 outcomes.
The article looks at the value commercially supported CME has on those that are the ‘supporters’ of it. I took that at those who fund it as well as those who participate in the CME and to those that work directly with the product or device that the CME is presented on. It was shown that it provides research information, better knowledge of the product and off label uses that it can be used for. Without research data and applied knowledge how do we ever expect to expand and progress in the health care field? For instance-if the government came up with a new budget plan or software per say that would strengthen the economy would we not support it or allow them to show us this because it could promote judgment or bias? I think that if a drug, device or any other advancement in the medical community can enhance or save lives that it should be promoted and researched in any means possible.
We then look at the value that commercially supported CME has for physician and society directly. Firstly the increased amount of funding that these companies have allow for increased quality of CME-so why would we not allow it? Would you rather have your family physician get a post it note or a seminar of study on the recommended uses of a new drug that he plans on prescribing for you? I don’t know about you, but I would be OK with him attending a funded seminar if he will get the knowledge and expertise about something that will directly affect my life! Secondly the ACCME (rule makers) standards are there to prevent bias if followed correctly. Thirdly providers need to branch out and get more commercially supported CME from multiple sources in order to prevent bias or temptation to use only specific companies/drugs/devices. And lastly, the CME providers need to advocate for themselves more in order to show the public the value of the education they are providing, no matter where the funding comes from.
The last thing this researcher looks at is the value that commercially supported CME has on the leaderships roles of those involved. Briefly I think that these types of opportunities for career advancement that come from the CME can prove beneficial for all those involved. How can we say that increasing ones education and advancing their career is bad in any way shape or form-I don’t think that we can?
In summary I felt like this article did provide a fair argument for the support of commercially backed CME. I would love to hear what others have to say on this topic and I would love to hear someone’s rebuttal to this article as well.