With most professions, additional education is required to make individuals more effective at doing their jobs. In a medical career, furthering one’s education is a must just to keep up with the latest developments in the field. Physician CME (Continuing Medical Education) is an important consideration for this reason.
Requirements for physician CME
Physician Continuing Medical Education is mandated by most states. However, all states have different regulations regarding physician CME. For example, Rhode Island only requires forty hours for every two years of practice while New Hampshire requires 150 for every three years. Some states also require specific types of physician CME, such as HIV/AIDS or medical ethics courses.
The purpose of this additional education is not to bog physicians down in studies or extra work but to ensure that they have the knowledge necessary to properly care for their patients’ changing needs.
Concerns about current requirements for doctor CME
Even though states have these apparently strict rules regarding physician CME, there is some concern that what counts today as continuing medical education may not be improving the performance of doctors. A study cited in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that traditional education really did little to improve doctors work with their patients.
Furthermore, physician CME has become more of an annual chore for doctors than a chance for learning more about their field. As a result, attitudes towards learning are mostly negative and this often interferes with the acquisition of new knowledge as any high school teacher already knows.
A new approach to physician continuing medical education
To combat these problems, Canadian doctors have been experimenting with a new type of continuing medical education known as MOCOMP (maintenance of competency project). With this method, physician CME doesn’t consist of yearly courses or meetings. Instead, doctors keep an electronic journal listing every time they apply something they have learned from a journal article, a conference, or a peer in their practice. Portions of these journals are sent to a review agency periodically so they can be evaluated and appropriate CME credit can be assigned.
As a result of MOCOMP’s success in Canada, Virginia has also begun a similar type of physician CME program in its state.