The Essentials of Directing Medical Professional Development with Limited Resources

Learn how to maximize the CME efforts of your CPD office with this free ebook!

You’ll learn:

  • How to manage your CPD with scarce resources
  • How to find out if you’re actually maximizing your CME systems
  • Gain insight on best practices to improve your CE programs
  • Actionable insights on ways to improve your CME courses
  • How to survive CPD employee turnover and maintain CE quality
  • The best e-learning tools you can take advantage of and more!

Excerpt

The Essentials of Directing Medical Professional Development with Limited Resources

It’s that time of day: you’re headed for your CPD office.

The only problem is that you don’t know what’s going to meet you there. Will there be enough staff working or have people left, leaving you high and dry? Staff turnover is bad enough, but the office budget is also beginning to take a hit. You have to keep advertising, hiring, onboarding, then repeating the entire process all over again to deal with the turnover.

You don’t have sufficient time to create great and innovative content for your learners, so they vote with their feet and go to one of your competitors.

When your CPD office hits the busiest times, you could really use extra support.

What about your LMS? Do your courses have static multiple-choice questions and PDF formats? Are your medical professionals dissatisfied with your CME courses? Are you experiencing low completions or negative feedback? When you’re operating with limited resources, do you find yourself multitasking and spreading yourself? 

Did you know that these problems are fixable? There is a feature-rich, flexible, and robust automated LMS that’s available for your CME program.

Feeling like you need some guidance? This ebook will address the issues with your CPD and limited resources and show you a solution by way of a professional outsourcing service.

Want to Improve Your CME Courses? Look to Best Practices

Your medical CPD department produces various educational activities to enhance your learners’ medical knowledge and skills. These also enable them to provide high-quality clinical outcomes, work in interprofessional teams, employ evidence-based education, and develop medical, managerial, ethical, social, and personal skills. Following best practices will improve your professional development programs. Let’s take a look at several that can help.

Offer content for learners with diverse learning styles.

As a CE director, you need to deliver the right content to a diverse audience of learners. This is critical for them to receive the best learning experiences possible. Your courses should consider six principles when it comes to adult learning—these help in addressing their diverse learning styles.

  • Adult learners are results-oriented. They want to know what they have to do to learn and what they will be taught.
  • Learners want to exercise control over the techniques and goals in their learning.
  • Adults want to connect their life experiences and knowledge with the content learned.
  • They want content that is relevant to their life situations, since these create a particular learning need.
  • Adult learners are also generally practical. Their learning is best when it’s presented in a real-life context.
  • They show a high motivation to learn when new information can help them solve significant problems in their lives and/or work.

Your learners will have different learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic (tactile), or reading/writing. A Fleming and Mills study reported that medical student learning styles showed that:

  • 33% were visual.
  • 26% were auditory.
  • 14% were kinesthetic.
  • 4% were auditory and kinesthetic.
  • 5% used three styles.

As a result, in order to retain your learners, your courses should have options for reading text and/or listening to audio and viewing graphics and/or videos. When developing your programs, keep these experiences and the other aspects of your learners’ learning styles in mind.

Design and implement certified CE activities.

Design and implement your courses with accessibility and learner diversity in the forefront. This way, you not only address the needs of disabled learners but also increase engagement and satisfaction across a wide range of learners.

What is essential to accessible and universal course design? Consider the following:

  • Use simple, consistent navigation with a table of contents.
  • Control links with keyboard-only navigation.
  • Write concise text for every link, with no use of “Click here.”
  • Make accommodations for hearing- and visually-impaired learners.
  • Use written descriptions for graphics.
  • Use captioned videos and transcribed audio clips.
  • Use readable text that matches the content and assessment.

Perform learner assessments.

As a CE director at a medical association or hospital, you should assess individual performances and make improvements through specific learning experiences. Provide online quizzes and surveys that evaluate your learners at any time during your courses, including pre- and post-test activity assessments. 

Provide tailored CME courses for certifications and licensures.

Your learners must earn, renew, and keep their certifications and licensing up to date on a regular basis. They must have credits to demonstrate that they have participated in activities that document the requirements for state medical boards, specialty societies, and other membership bodies. It’s your goal to address their accreditation needs, as well as increase the value of their education that keeps them returning for new courses that are ACCME accredited. Your courses also need to be innovative and flexible as per the Criterion 35 mandate, which transforms your courses into engaging, interactive content that provides deep learning experiences and keeps your learners in your program through the use of various educational approaches, M&M conferences, and internet-enduring materials such as videos, webinars, and podcasts.

Your program’s success relies heavily on offering accredited courses that easily allow your learners to gain their various board certifications, IPCE, MOC, and AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ credits. This requires your undivided attention, which may not be there if your CPD office has limited resources.

Leverage Dynamic Content in Your Courses

Nothing can turn learners off more than static content in stodgy courses. Facing countless text-based PDF courses can send your learners out to seek other providers to receive their credits. 

When you’re providing content to your medical learners, it’s essential to give them relevant experiences using active and effective learning. These approaches include such things as:

  • Discussions and debates
  • Role playing
  • Problem solving
  • Diagrams, charts, and lists
  • Gaming

A dynamic learner-centric online course improves learning outcomes. When providing dynamic content, you can easily embed multimedia content like YouTube videos and Flash learning content, as well as introduce podcasts and webinars. Your learners stay engaged and you’re bringing life to the material. You can encourage collaboration through valuable discussion boards and group projects. All of these work to motivate your learners and provide positive learning experiences.

Addressing Your Learners’ Needs: Are You Using the Right LMS?

Are you using an LMS for your CME and find that it’s failing you? Not all CME software systems are created equal. If you’re not using the right one, you can feel frustrated and concerned that your learners will go to your competitors because you’re not addressing their needs.

Does your LMS only allow for static content development in the form of PDFs with endlessly boring multiple-choice questions? This is probably not engaging for most learners based on their individual learning styles, especially for medical professionals who are up with the latest technology and whose time is at a premium.

So, how can you tell if your LMS is right for you? 

When you’re preparing CME content, the right LMS software should help with the delivery and tracking of your courses. Let’s discuss what you should look for in an enterprise-grade LMS solution.

It’s easy to use.

Your LMS should be easy to use, with a clean administrative interface. The software should let you clone your courses with a single click, as well as perform drag and drops to reorder components. A course creation wizard makes it easy for the occasional user. 

For your learners, an easy-to-use interface with a single-sign-on module enables them to access multiple systems with one username and password. Having a simple, linear workflow also means they will never get lost throughout their courses. 

EthosCE has a flexible and intuitive interface that enables your instructors to quickly embed rich media and change course content. Ebooks, links to course texts, videos, audio material, and assessments are also easily embeddable. 

If your LMS is non-intuitive, this can pose significant challenges for your instructors, and if your learners can’t navigate their courses, their engagement will suffer and they may potentially go to another provider.

It automates as many tasks as possible.

Your LMS should automate as many tasks as possible. When you look for an enterprise-level LMS, you want to find a way to remove the repetitive tasks that can eat into your day. You can streamline tasks like scheduling, enrollment, course tracking, managing emails and user registrations, and performing payment processing, all through a single administrative panel. This frees your time to focus on your program, learners, and instructors. It also helps you save time and money so you and your team can focus on critical content innovation.

In addition, look for automation at the administrative level and automated functions that your instructors can use in their courses. For example, in eLearn magazine, authors Karen Gebhardt and Kelly McKenna wrote that structured and automated instructor messaging during online courses can help increase learner engagement, create deeper learning, and improve learning outcomes.

EthosCE enables the automation of your administrative tasks and course components, like RSS/grand rounds, using mobile devices. Its easy-to-use tools can manage CME tracking, and reporting is straightforward and automated for many external systems.

It provides complete tracking capabilities.

A good LMS gives you tracking capabilities that tell you what courses learners have taken and which have been the most effective. Look for functionality that enables you to monitor your learners’ attendance, progress, and completions and what they did both online and offline. It will enable your CPD office to keep track of credit types offered and the certificates provided when courses are completed.

There’s multiple credit type support.

Your LMS should provide support for a wide range of credit types. These include continuing education credit for regularly scheduled series, like grand rounds and case conferences, MOCs, simulations, web-based activities, and a wide variety of other educational formats, like CEUs, CNEs, CPEs, CLEs, CFPs, CEHs, PDHs, and any other credit types and specialty credits.

There are unlimited certificate templates available.

LMS software should have unlimited certificate templates, so you can decide which are most appropriate for your specific courses.

EthosCE enables you to create custom certificate designs and as many as you need. You can:

  • Use tokens to fill in the learner’s name, address, course title, credits, date, etc.
  • Embed images for seals and signatures.
  • Design your certificate in a simple rich text editor or full HTML mode.
  • Display the number and type of CME, CE, CNE, and other CEU credits.
  • Allow your learners to reprint certificates at any time to reduce back-office work.

It has follow-up assessment tools.

Look for an LMS that supplies you with ways to create follow-up assessments that automatically notify your learners based on set intervals, like every thirty days. 

With EthosCE, you can give online quizzes and surveys to assess learners at any time during their course, including pre- and post-test assessments. You can use these tools to:

  • Give multiple-choice, true-or-false, essay, and other common questions.
  • Provide feedback to learners during assessment, specific to the question, or globally.
  • Create multimedia questions and embed videos.

It supplies robust reporting and data analysis tools.

As a CE director, you know the importance of reliable reports and analytics in your courses. EthosCE makes it easy to see how your learners are being engaged on a per-course basis with robust built-in reports and data analytics. You can then understand every course’s user engagement, from their participation to their completion rates. You can:

  • Measure detailed evidence of learner engagement by course or globally.
  • Drill into reports for in-depth understanding of learner behaviors.
  • Download reports immediately or create schedules for email delivery.
  • Build and share custom reports.

It provides PARS-compliant reports and integration with ACCME web services

A robust LMS like EthosCE provides PARS-compliant reports and integration with ACCME web services, including ABA, ABIM, and ABP MOC2 programs, with automated reporting to boards and other external systems, such as ACCME PARS, CE Broker, CPE Monitor, and others.

It’s flexible and adaptive.

Continuing education is constantly evolving. E-learning should be flexible and adaptive every step of the way.

EthosCE supports flexible learning, and in-person workshops can be smoothly integrated into your program with full Adobe Presenter, Articulate, and Captivate support.

It helps recruit doctors and enhances their CE!

A robust and easy-to-use LMS is the key to recruiting doctors. It offers them exactly what they need: CME courses where they can participate in self-directed learning using social media, games, video, and audio content via webcasts, discussion boards, and other interactive materials that enable them to earn credits on their own terms. Their CE allows them to do the following:

  • Refine their skills to improve their overall patient care.
  • Stay current with the latest developments in their specialty or subspecialty.
  • Address the challenges that they face daily.
  • Acquire professional growth and ways to advance their career status.
  • Meet critical licensing or certification requirements.
  • Learn practical medical team management skills.
  • Earn membership in professional bodies.

Once you realize that interactive content is the way to go, you can present your learners with:

  • Online, on-demand CE on their devices—24/7
  • Webinars instead of sleep-inducing text
  • CME credits on the go—learners can download free podcasts to their devices to listen to on the way home, for example
  • CE videos online

What’s next?

Now that you know what you should look for in an LMS, you need to address these issues within your CPD office: having limited dedicated staff due to staff turnover and figuring out what to do about the busy times.

Gone with the Wind: Where Have All Your Employees Gone?

You have a problem with staff turnover. You hire help but it costs you. Why is it so difficult to keep good staff?

Many factors contribute to high employee turnover. Low pay, lack of a challenge, and low engagement are often the main ones. According to a Willis Tower Watson study, one in three employees will leave a company within two years. In another study, the Aberdeen Group reported that 90% of businesses believe that employees make their decision to stay within their first year of employment. These numbers aren’t encouraging.

According to a Rockefeller Foundation and Edelman Intelligence study, finding, hiring, and retaining entry-level talent has become an issue for many organizations. While 97% of employers know that entry-level jobs are essential to their business performance, 43% have problems finding candidates to fill positions.

If you’re hiring entry-level employees, they may not plan on staying too long, and this could be due to several reasons.

There’s a lack of motivation stemming from feeling discouraged or stressed.

Watch out for how expectations and demands will affect your employees. If someone feels overburdened with what might be a large—and potentially impossible workload—they may feel stressed and lose motivation. On the other hand, if an employee has a light workload or one that has little or no variety because of seemingly mundane tasks, they could quickly lose interest. Likewise, if employees see an environment of high turnover, they may disengage and lose their productivity. They may also potentially question the exits, wondering why they happened in the first place, resulting in a negative work culture.

The salary may not be enough.

You may not be able to pay salaries as you might like because your office is cash-strapped to begin with. It then turns into a revolving door as employees leave for potentially greener pastures, with you having to replace them. That alone can send your budget spiraling out of control.

Now you have to hire replacements, but by the same token, you have to increase the number of learners coming to you for their professional development through your continuing medical education courses. You’re being pulled in all directions.

But hiring those replacement employees will cost you. Advertising, screening, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and orientation all eat into your budget, even more so if you have to repeat the process all over again should another employee leave. What’s more, it can take time for the new employee to get up to speed in terms of productivity, factoring in errors and reduced work quality along the way. Ultimately, cheap labor can be expensive, and the cost of replacing them is high. Onboarding alone is a significant expense: it can cost $400 per employee just to prepare the new hire’s paperwork.

Studies show that the total cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5 to 2 times an employee’s annual salary. The numbers are staggering; this can total more than $160 billion a year. There’s more:

  • Employees Benefits News found that turnovers can cost employers 33% of an annual salary.
  • A Boushy and Glynn report found that for employees who earned $30,000 or less, you

spend 16% of their annual salary to hire and train new individuals.

Temporary staff members aren’t always the answer.

If you hire temporary employees, you still have to invest the time to train them until they’re up to speed. Another thing to consider is that some temps view working at their job as just “passing through.” This can make them less reliable or motivated.

With temps, you can expect a higher pay rate than you pay your current employees. These higher wages make up for the reduced benefits they’re offered. In addition, temp agencies charge a fee, which is tacked onto the employee’s rate. 

As a result of these issues, you’re constantly putting out fires and spending valuable time away from creating innovative medical professional development courses that are easy to use and simplify the process of your learners meeting their specific educational needs.

The office activity has ramped up and you’re in your busiest times.

Your CPD office is already a busy place, and it keeps getting busier, especially when you’re preparing to launch new professional development programs. You’re offering support and continuing education credits for regularly scheduled series like case conferences and grand rounds, tumor boards, mortality conferences, MOCs, simulations, web-based activities, and a wide variety of other educational formats, like CEUs, CNEs, CPEs, CLEs, CFPs, CEHs, PDHs, and any other credit types.

That means you need help in areas like learner registrations, notifications, classroom tracking, reporting, and certificate management, help that can suffer when you’re trying to tackle these tasks with limited resources.

You need a dedicated staff in place to keep things running so you can get on with innovating and creating courses for your learners’ medical professional development.

Where’s the Cash? It’s Not in Your Balance Sheet

It’s critical that you work on creating exceptional CE for your learners’ medical professional development. However, with the time and energy spent on dealing with staff turnover—and the associated costs—and trying to operate your CDP office, it’s leaving you shorter on time.

As a result of all this, your learners aren’t heading to you in droves. Your CE courses just aren’t attracting them. You’re losing money fast, but where’s the cash going to come from? There’s also the possible loss of your reputation for not having cutting-edge courses that meet your learners’ needs for licenses, certifications, and compliance requirements. As a result, you’re caught in a vicious cycle of dealing with employee turnover, having less time for course development, and losing learners.

Step Back and Get Creative Again with a Professional Full-Time Concierge Service

There is a way to destress and take control of your CPD office and the critical role that you play.

EthosCE provides a full-time LMS concierge service that recognizes your need to address your busy times, staff turnover, and potentially declining numbers of learners. It helps you get your continuing education content online as quickly as possible, letting you spend more time on innovation.

Why Use EthosCE’s Concierge Service?

It handles staff turnover cost-effectively.

This professional service helps you resolve short-term issues resulting from your staff turnover problems, increasing the number of activities that your CPD office can do. The service can do things more quickly and efficiently—and cheaply—than using students or temps, all things considered. It costs less than a full-time employee and can be done remotely or on a retainer-type contract basis.

It handles the busy times.

You’re busy, that’s a given. EthosCE’s concierge service can perform tasks much more quickly, bringing in highly experienced and skilled LMS administrators who can find and implement best practices for improved user experiences.

When your CPD’s office activities are ramping up, EthosCE’s professional service can help when you have limited internal resources. It gives you access to expert CPD technical resources for offloading menial tasks, and it doesn’t have to be used for only one task and not others. Since the service is flexible, you can use it for:

  • Setting up courses
  • Creating and sending reports
  • Pulling data
  • Creating, reviewing, and updating forms
  • Emailing learners
  • Providing end-user support
  • Performing data entry
  • Recording documentation
  • Doing supplemental training

EthosCE also provides experienced project managers and dedicated data-entry staff to make sure your course production stays on track so you can focus on developing critical CME content. These project managers can supply a template for data collection of the following:

  • Learning objectives
  • Faculty bios and disclosures
  • Pre- and post-assessment questions with answer keys
  • Program evaluation
  • Release and expiration dates
  • Types and number of credits offered
  • Commercial support statements and other relevant information
  • Certificate setup for awarding credits

The EthosCE concierge service enables you to:

  • Earn more from your existing course content and realize the benefits of earlier learner participation in courses.
  • Spend more time on innovation.
  • Take advantage of best practices in course delivery so your learners receive the best value from your courses.
  • Save money from flat-fee course pricing so you have no hidden fees or surprises.

It works even if you’re a smaller organization.

If you’re a smaller organization, you may not have dedicated staff that can effectively run your entire LMS. Alternatively, you may even think that your organizational process would be hard for an external group to contribute to and work inside of. Even if you have a smaller office, this concierge service helps you get your online content up quickly. Think of EthosCE as an employee who has the expertise that you need to leverage your online requirements.

Improve the Way Your CPD Office Works

EthosCE LMS enterprise-grade platform allows you to develop engaging, compelling courses that keep your medical learners with you and coming back for more.

As a result, creating your CME content when you have limited resources doesn’t have to be stressful. You just need ways to accomplish your goals. EthosCE’s concierge service frees you from daily office tasks, saves you money, and returns you to developing innovative courses. You can then deliver those courses so your learners can have the best possible experience. 

Basically, EthosCE’s got you covered.

Take the next step to improve the quality of your CPD office, especially when you have limited resources. Schedule a 1-on-1 demo of EthosCE, and learn more about our concierge services from one of our specialists today!

 

Take the next step with EthosCE and send us your request for proposal today

 

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