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4 Factors Affecting the Near Future of Medical Education

As a CME provider, coordinator, or director, you always have plenty on your plate. There are continuing medical education activities to plan for your learners, and you always have to stay compliant with the most current ACCME Standards as they relate to your CME.

The Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education have been updated in order for you to protect your learners from unnecessary industry influence with marketing and promotional content in their activities and conflicts of interest. It also enables you to provide cutting-edge content to fulfill their professional needs in order to care for their patients.

Let’s see what four factors are changing when it comes to the future of medical education.

The Future’s Bright for CME

Despite COVID-19, CME is alive and well. Since exclusively in-person events have taken a backseat, virtual and hybrid learning are now at the forefront.

With research into the vast fields of medicine, new knowledge is increasing by leaps and bounds, and breakthroughs are tremendous. Medical professionals have to be equipped to help their patients with the most current knowledge.

Recognizing this, the ACCME has established the new Standards to simplify how you, as a CME provider, can develop your content and deal with ineligible companies.

Who’s Out

The whole idea of ACCME’s new Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education is to remove marketing and promotions messaging and the chances of any conflicts of interest that can stem from ineligible companies.

Just who are these companies, and why are they ACCME ineligible?

Ineligible companies cannot become ACCME accredited because their primary business is to produce, market, sell, resell, and/or distribute healthcare products. These include:

  • Advertising, marketing, or communications firms whose clients are ineligible companies
  • Biomedical startups that have begun a governmental regulatory approval process
  • Compounding pharmacies that manufacture proprietary compounds
  • Device manufacturers or distributors
  • Diagnostic labs that sell proprietary products
  • Growers, distributors, sellers, or manufacturers of medical foods and dietary supplements
  • Manufacturers of health-related wearable products
  • Pharmaceutical companies or distributors
  • Pharmacy benefit managers
  • Reagent manufacturers or sellers

Providing Cutting-Edge Content without Fail

It’s crucial for you to supply your learners with valid CME content that’s free from unscientific processes or risks toward their patients or the public. Be sure your content is based on science, evidence, and clinical reasoning, all while showing balanced views of diagnostic and therapeutic options that support safe and effective patient care.

Any scientific research that’s referred to, reported, or used in your accredited education in support or justification of a patient care recommendation must also comply with the accepted standards of experimental design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

Plus, your content must give your learners a place to discuss, debate, and explore new and evolving topics. That said, be sure these areas are clearly identified as such within your program and individual presentations. It’s your responsibility to enable participation in these topics.

No Sharing Allowed

You can’t “share and share alike” when it comes to how you disclose those individuals from ineligible companies with relevant financial relationships. While it’s up to you to reveal everything to your learners regarding these individuals, there’s one hitch: you can’t share the names or contact information of your learners with any of the ineligible companies or their agents without the explicit permission of each learner. So, what it comes down to is that the electronic “address book” must stay closed. If your learners agree, then share away. This way, they can make informed decisions.

The Thirty-Minute Warning: Learners Are There to Learn

The future of medical education has taken on a new face. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused continuing medical education to change. With the presence of online and hybrid learning, your learners will see many marketing messages in both educational spaces, as well as activities taking place at exhibit halls or conference events once those events gear up again.

Then the question becomes this: is the thirty-minute time interval required regardless of whether a nonaccredited activity takes place before, during, or after the accredited activity? The ACCME’s answer is yes. This interval does need to exist between accredited and nonaccredited education.

Any live continuing education activities, marketing, exhibits, and nonaccredited education developed by or under the influence of an ineligible company or with planners or faculty with unmitigated financial relationships must not occur in the educational space within thirty minutes before or after an accredited education activity. Activities that are part of the event but are not accredited for continuing education must be clearly labeled and communicated as such.

At the end of the day, if your learners come to an educational space or an activity in good faith, they shouldn’t be subjected to an intentionally promotional educational activity unless they’re choosing to do so.

Protecting the Future of Medical Education

With the new ACCME Standards, accredited providers like you are now better at protecting your learners from issues surrounding ineligible companies and their messaging while attending accredited educational activities. The Standards also enable you to develop and provide the most current content to meet their professional needs and allow them to give their patients the best possible care.

At EthosCE, we understand the challenges of staying up to date and compliant with ACCME changes. We know how critical it is to get things done right the first time when it comes to team-based education and success.

To learn how EthosCE can enhance the continuing education of your healthcare teams, schedule a free 1-on-1 demo with one of our specialists today!

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