Classroom or Online CME Courses?

  • WCHM Editors
  • Volume 06 - Issue 3

Which Is More Effective?

 

The ultimate outcome of continuing medical education (CME), whether in person or online, is increased knowledge of current skills and practices, which should translate to better patient outcomes through the application of the information learned. But which CME activities are most effective for achieving these goals?

We asked two CME accreditation experts, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) and the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS), for  their  insight on whether to go live or online for CME credits. Their feedback is below.

Company name:

Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society

Types of CME options your company provides (live, online, or both):

Live, online, journal

Types of credits your company provides:

Physician CME: AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™, Nursing/ RRT contact hours, NBDHMT Category A/Category B

 

1. In your opinion, what general components make a CME course effective?

I believe an effective course is one in which the objectives are met and the participants have gained some form of knowledge, competence, and/or performance that will change the way he/she practices that will have an overall impact on better patient outcomes.

2. In your opinion, what are the benefits of traditional, live, classroom-based CME?

The live classroom allows a face-to-face relationship with the faculty and peers who share a common interest for various reasons. Almost as important in a live classroom setting are the breaks outside of the classroom where you can network with other professionals and potentially gain some information  on other specialties, devices, or products and make lasting relationships with other professionals. Live didactic lecture allows the participant to have a direct relationship with the faculty member and to be able to ask any questions or make comments for immediate discussion or response.

3. In your opinion, what are the benefits of taking a CME module online?

Online CME modules allows participants to save costs of travel, lodging, meals, and, most importantly, time away from their practices. Many participants pay for all of their expenses out of pocket. Online CME modules allow them to work at their own pace, in their own environment, and provides a cost-effective platform to do so. It also allows them to be selective  in choosing the most appropriate educational activity to meet their needs and learning style rather than attending a program because it fits their schedule. Online CME modules are practical in today’s fast-paced world, and we are almost always connected to access online education while waiting for a flight, in between meetings, or on a lunch break.

4. In your opinion, which type of CME better translates to an increase in better patient outcomes and physician skill and knowledge?

I believe it is not so much the “type of CME” that will increase better patient outcomes and physician skill and knowledge, but, more importantly, it’s the content of the CME course. Do you have expert faculty who  are top-notch in the field? Does the faculty use current references and resources since the medical field is ever-changing and procedures/devices can become out-of- date quickly? Is the content relevant to the participant’s practice? Are the faculty relatable and able keep the participant’s attention? Specifically to the type of CME, every participant learns differently. Many learners are visual learners, so a hands-on session may benefit them the most. Others may not focus well for a full day of live didactic lecture, so an online platform may allow them to learn at their own pace. I feel the most effective way  to improve patient outcomes and physician skill and knowledge is to include as many different platforms as possible within reason to tailor to all or most of the participants’ learning needs.

5. In your opinion, can CME effectiveness be comparatively measured? How is this determined?

Yes, CME effectiveness can be comparatively measured. Depending on what you want to measure and to  what degree you want it measured, there are different methods. Some may use an audience-response system that measures the impact of the activity  in  real  time. This may allow the faculty to alter their presentation if the participants are not picking up on certain topics or did not spend enough time with a certain area, reflecting from the responses. The UHMS asks participants questions at the completion of the course specifically to determine how the educational activity had an impact   on them, if and how it will change the way he/she practices, what barriers are present that might hinder change, if the activity met his/her needs, what changes he/she would like make to the program in planning future activities, etc.

* * * * *

Company name:

Wilderness Medical Society

Types of CME options your company provides (live, online, or both):

Both, including video and article review

Types of credits your company provides:

ACCME approved only

 

1. In your opinion, what general components make a CME course effective?

The planning process, gap analysis, up-to-date content, and good evaluation process are the most important aspects of an effective CMS course.

2. In your opinion, what are the benefits of traditional, live, classroom-based CME?

Benefits include the learner and teacher interaction — the ability to ask questions and have them answered   in real time. A second benefit is hands-on skill development and testing.

3. In your opinion, what are the benefits of taking a CME module online?

You can obtain more in-depth material over several sessions with a CME module online.

4. In your opinion, which type of CME better translates to an increase in better patient outcomes and physician skill and knowledge?

This question is impossible to answer well. It has to be a mix of skills and knowledge base.

5. In your opinion, can CME effectiveness be comparatively measured? How is this determined?

I’m not sure this is possible. The variables that would need to be controlled are staggering. The testing procedures would be hard to develop. Standardized testing for all age groups has not worked well as far as predicting high education success. Skills, on the other hand, are better adapted to comparative testing.

* * * * *

Whatever your CME preference is, we hope this article  has helped provide insight and perspective on the benefits of online CME versus live courses. When deciding which option is best for you and/or your clinic staff, you may want to take in to consideration lost revenues caused by time away from the office (in the case of live courses) and travel expenses. In contrast, there are considerable benefits to taking advantage of the networking opportunities that come only with attending a live event. We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on the issue with our community of wound care and  hyperbaric  professionals on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages or email us at info@ bestpub.com.

Contact Us

Best Publishing Company
631 US Highway 1, Suite 307
North Palm Beach, FL 33408

Email:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone:
561.776.6066

Fax:
561.776.7476


Copyright © 2018 Best Publishing Company, a company of WCHMedia Group, Inc | All rights reserved
Find more information at www.WCHMediaGroup.com