Getting CME the Easy Way

July 2, 2009
Judy Capko

The Internet has opened new doors of opportunity that have forever changed the way busy physicians, administrators, and clinical staff approach getting their continuing medical education.

The Internet has opened new doors of opportunity that have forever changed the way busy physicians, administrators, and clinical staff approach getting their continuing medical education. As quickly as regulatory bodies change the way that CME is funded, new modalities are popping up to provide ease of access and scheduling.

Changing CME landscape. Long ago the process of getting required CME credits was costly and took lots of time - typically, physicians traveled to meetings and attended live conferences. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying there isn’t value in this. Attending conferences can be a powerful tool that gives attendees the opportunity to network with their colleagues; find out what’s going on in other parts of the country; and explore how other people resolve a problem their practice might be facing.

And, of course, there’s that opportunity to hit the exhibit hall and discover the latest and greatest in emerging gadgets. Just the same, busy healthcare professionals are always on the lookout for ways to reduce the time and expense required to keep current with their CME.

Learning online. And then came the Internet. There are so many CME opportunities on the Web. And the hallmark of virtual education is its flexibility! There just aren’t any excuses any more for not staying on top of ongoing CME requirements. Let your fingers do the walking by searching online - you are bound to find CME resources that meet your needs. The Web sites are legion; if you’re looking for practice management credits try Physicians Practice’s sister corporation CME, LLC. Hint: Look under “P” for Physicians Practice on the CME activities page.

The channels to find CME activities are vast. Some are obvious and well known, some are not, some require a fee, and others are free. There are programs sponsored through most professional associations, academic training centers, and pharma-sponsored events, just to name a few.

Listening online. Webinars (both live and archived) and audioconferences are an excellent way to tap into current trends and emerging technologies to earn valuable CME credits. Many are free.

Better yet, choose a topic that everyone can benefit from and make it a practice-wide event by scheduling a CME Webinar as a lunch & learn activity - all you need is a laptop and projector. (Or, go low-tech by having staff group together at their work stations, and listen through their PCs or telephones.) Today, with the availability of so many CME opportunities, both clinical and administrative staff can easily find a topic that fills a gap in their business or clinical knowledge, or one that keeps them ahead of the curve with emerging technologies.

Earning and managing CME credits is now easier and more customized than ever. In fact, some companies enable physicians to complete their CME activities, print out their certificates, manage the number of activities they’ve engaged in, and send documentation to their state licensing board - all while sitting in front of their computer, at home or the office. Pretty slick, I’d say!

Get creative in how you obtain your CME credits and seek out opportunities to integrate educational activities into your practice. It’s never been easier.

Judy Capko is a healthcare consultant and author of the popular books Secrets of the Best Run Practices and Take Back Time. Based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., she is a national speaker on healthcare topics. She can be reached at 805 499 9203 or judy@capko.com.