The Ultimate Guide to Improving Medical Professionals CE Satisfaction

Learn how to improve your CME learner and employee satisfaction with this free ebook!

You’ll learn:

  • Understand What Your Learners Want.
  • Develop Active Learning Experiences
  • Know the 1-2-3s of the ACCME Mandates
  • EthosCE for your ACCME mandates
  • How is the ACCME involved?
  • What are the benefits of receiving Joint Accreditation for IPCE?

The Ultimate Guide to Improving Medical Professionals CE Satisfaction

As the continuing education director, do you know if your courses are relevant, full of innovation, and always evolving?

Ask yourself: “Am I aware of what my learners are looking for and what they need?” If their needs aren’t met, you might just see them finding another provider to gain their CE.

Time is of the essence because they already have enough on their plates, with their practices and work in medical facilities.

You already know that quality CE is vital to your medical professionals, especially when it comes to increasing their satisfaction. Fortunately, there’s a technology platform that helps you address your clinicians’ pain points.

In this ebook, we’ve put together the ways you can improve your CE program for your healthcare professionals overall satisfaction.

Understand What Your Learners Want

There are so many different things that your medical professionals want and need. They want to refine their skills in order to better their patients’ care. They also need to stay current for their specific specialties or subspecialties. Overall, your clinicians want to:

  • Address real-world challenges that they face regularly.
  • Gain professional growth.
  • Advance their career status.
  • Meet their licensing or certifications.
  • Learn effective medical team management skills.
  • Earn membership in professional organizations.

Knowing what you know at this point, how are you going to address these needs? Are you settling for whatever current ways you’re providing your CE programs? If you’re starting to have more questions than answers and find yourself wrangling for ideas to keep your clinicians happy, then it’s time to look for solid solutions.

If you’re already planning a CE event, you may already be aware of the costs involved, ranging from getting your course accredited to soliciting faculty participation to reserving hotel rooms. All of that adds up. Physicians have a decreased willingness to pay more for their own CE, as they have to take into account time lost for travel and being away from their practices, overall expenses, and cost of materials. So, is there a way to reduce both? Even minor costs for an event can be a turnoff for both you and your learners. Take, for example, these unexpected costs for basic items for you and/or your attendees:

  • Cup of coffee: $9.28 in New York and $6.53 in LA and Washington
  • Bagel (without cream cheese?): $8.24 in New York / $3.40 in LA
  • Lunch: $82.36 in New York / $49.41 in Atlanta
  • AV equipment: $2,000 in Chicago / $1,350 in San Francisco
  • AV technician: $88/hr in LA / $73.50/hr in New York

The list goes on.

Do your learners really want this experience? Would it give them the CE satisfaction they need and want?

EthosCE as the technology platform

When you’re a CE director or coordinator, you need a way to find ways to simplify things when it comes to your learners.

EthosCE is a user-friendly learning management system (LMS) single platform that’s used by medical associations, academic medical centers, health centers, and medical information companies


EthosCE gives you the automated tools you need so you can provide your learners with online content that improves their user experience, demonstrates measurable outcomes, and complies with ACCME guidelines.

Develop Active Learning Experiences

“Sticky learning” might conjure up thoughts of countless brightly colored sticky notes stuck to desks, walls, windows, and even computer screens. But in this case, we’re looking at active learning. This is where your learners are engaging, applying, and reflecting on the knowledge gained. Their outcomes are better and their knowledge greater. They can also practice and that practice makes perfect.

What makes this possible? High-quality content that supplies interactivity and instant feedback.


As we’ve just seen, education research has shown that adult learners respond more positively to active, self-directed learning opportunities than to passive learning like the lectures and textbooks that everyone expects. Engagement is much higher when learners are asked to take responsibility, collaborate, or engage in their self-directed learning.

Can you turn your content away from walls of passive sticky notes and transform it into active learning experiences? Absolutely. According to the University of Colorado School of Medicine, one form of active learning is known as think-pair-share. As an example, this is where you would offer a CE course on types of recent viruses and present ways to recognize, diagnose, and treat the diseases involved. You would assign pairs of learners to research the topic and present their findings and treatment decisions. Think-pair-share is easily adaptable to online CE courses when you have message boards and assigned peer learning groups.

EthosCE uses discussion boards and email contact, so there’s an entire social learning environment available for your CE courses. In our think-pair-share example, these discussion boards can support your peer-learning activities.

Know the 1-2-3s of the ACCME Mandates

This brings us to innovation and creativity—the home of Criterion 35.

ACCME Criterion 35 compliance, innovation, and learner engagement are significant challenges, even if you’ve been around the course development block a few million times. While ACCME doesn’t set forth many mandates that often, when it does, it makes a massive impact on you as a provider, albeit in a positive way. So, how will you meet these mandates?

Mandate 1: Innovation

The ACCME and AMA recently adopted the proposal to simplify and align their CME expectations for CME programs for the AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

When your goal is to keep your learners, offering this credit is a significant bonus because it shows the value of your program. It’s designed to foster innovation and flexibility in your accredited CE to meet the ACCME and AMA standards. Since this is simplified, you can establish and merge your new instructional practices and learning formats. With these under your belt, you’ll grow the number of members—and their ultimate satisfaction.

Mandate 2: Criterion 35

This brings us to Criterion 35. Just having a CE is one part of Criterion 35 innovation and creativity. You’ll have to introduce three other new forms of activities into your CE program during your accreditation term. These include:

  • Internet-enduring materials like video, podcasts, and video
  • Educational approaches
  • M&M conferences
  • Recorded presentations

From there, you must detail how your innovations supply the ability to meet CE initiatives.

Criterion 35 recognizes those CE programs that offer demonstrated innovation in their educational approach, the program and curriculum design, how assessments are used, and if they’ve engaged in technology use. When analyzing your educational strategies or methods to know if you qualify as innovative, you must supply an efficient means for your organization to fulfill its CE over time. You don’t want this to be a one-shot deal. Your CE program must also be able to adapt as your learner base expands and their needs become more complex.

Mandate 3: Learner engagement

The third mandate is learner engagement. When you’re planning for your programs, your medical professionals have several needs:

  • They want quality content. Expect to lose learners if you can’t provide the content they’re looking for.
  • They’re looking for online accessibility. Eighty-four percent of physicians in an On24 and MedData Group report want to complete their CE online.
  • Eighty percent of physician learners thought that a view-on-demand feature was the first attractive feature of an online learning event.
  • Doctors want to gain credit for attending the course.
  • Doctors also want to learn content on their own terms.

What’s of least value to your learners is having no interaction available in the material and having to download software.

It’s critical to have a clear understanding of the way that your medical professionals learn. A Lena VanNieuwenborg et al. study concluded several findings:

  • Learners are results oriented. They have to know why content is important to learn, what they have to do to accomplish goals, what they need to do to learn the material, and what they’ll be taught.
  • They are self-directed individuals who need to control the techniques and goals in the process.
  • They want content presented through real-life situations.
  • Learners also show strong motivation when given new content that enables them to solve problems, whether it’s in their personal or professional lives.

Where does your content sit in the grand scheme of things?

EthosCE for your ACCME mandates

You’re probably wondering where you should go from here when it comes to helping with your ACCME mandates. EthosCE can help as your CE LMS technology platform. With its automated tools, you save time, and your learners receive the best possible experiences.

When you have EthosCE as your CE LMS technology platform, you can quickly adopt all the mandates and develop even better relationships with your learners and keep them with you.

Provide Better Ways for Learners to Earn Their MOCs

An article in Advances in Medical Education and Practice showed that physicians participating in online courses is an emerging trend. Many programs are now available online at little or no cost to the participant. Self-directed CE has been shown to reduce the overall cost, mostly through bypassing live meetings.

This leads us to believe that there are certain issues for medical professionals who have to obtain their MOCs. Many of them are questioning the frequency, time involved, and costs surrounding regular assessments.

For example, the Texas Medical Association believes that they know why physicians are up in arms about recertifications. One of the things that they reported was the costs of testing materials and fees. Based on the JAMA 2017 report:

  • The average fee for a written exam was $1,863.
  • The fee from fourteen boards charged $1,695 for an initial oral certification exam.
  • Nineteen boards’ fees for subspecialty verifications were an average of $2,104.

When your learners are working in their practices, that’s not an issue. The problems are the result of the fact their hospitals and health plans require the MOC for credentialing, admitting privileges, and contracts, something that they and their peers have to face. Simply put, medical professionals dislike the high-stakes MOC assessments that they have to take every ten years.

But there’s more. A recent Vision Initiative Study found that 34,118 physicians of the 36,392 people surveyed—or one in 12—actually found MOC of any value. The study went on to report that:

  • About 46% said they had mixed feelings about the MOC process.
  • About 42% didn’t value the program.

The study went even further:

  • The 58% most frequently cited response was costs.
  • About 52% believed that the MOC process was burdensome.
  • About 48% felt that MOC did not measure their abilities.
  • About 43% felt that MOC didn’t help improve their practices in a meaningful way.

What do your physicians want? Based on the writings of the New England Journal of Medicine, it’s CE. As it stands, physician medical licensure requires an annual minimum of twenty-five hours of CE, depending on the state. Your medical professionals accept this because it’s perceived as having value. In fact, the ACCME regulates MOC providers and requires that every CE provide course standards like an educational gap analysis, information about speaker conflict of interest, and course evaluations.

It’s easy to see the overall thought when it comes to obtaining MOCs. You can make the MOC process far easier with today’s modern technology that promotes greater content understanding and transfer of information.

With EthosCE, you receive curriculum development tools to transform your MOC program’s educational results. EthosCE’s LMS provides CE for the MOC for many of today’s medical boards, so earning their MOCs will be a positive experience for your medical professionals.

Address Learners’ IPCE Certification

Every sport has its team players. In the case of IPCE, groups of clinicians meet to learn about one another’s healthcare roles, whether it’s doctors working with pharmacists or nurses working with respiratory therapists. When IPCE is successful, patients feel like they’re heard, treated with care, and experiencing the best possible outcomes.

In the center of IPCE is Criterion 23. Criterion 23 rewards IPCE for the minimum of at least two professions coming together for the planning and implementation. The ACCME rules for IPCE include all three of the following:

  • Planners who are from more than one profession
  • Faculty from more than one profession
  • Activities that are designed to change the competence and/or performance of the healthcare team

How is the ACCME involved?

The Joint Accreditation™ for Interprofessional Continuing Education is offered through the ACCME and its original co-founders, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ACCC). These principals work in collaboration with several medical associations, including:

  • American Academy of PAs (APPA)
  • Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry’s Council of Optometric Practitioner Education (ARBO/COPE)
  • Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • American Dental Association’s Continuing Education Recognition Program (ADA CERP)

In order for your organization to become eligible, you’ll have to show that at least 25% of your CE is planned by and for two individual professions. The teams involved must have structure in place and be fully functional for more than eighteen months. Your organization also has to take part in the Joint Accreditation process. You’ll need to show compliance and/or be in good standing if you’re accredited through the ACCME or any other of the collaborating accreditors.


What are the benefits of receiving Joint Accreditation for IPCE?

The benefit of receiving your Joint Accreditation is that this provides a streamlined way for you to offer CE without having to obtain separate accreditations.

There are also a host of other benefits:

  • Your operational effectiveness increases. This, in turn, saves you time, money, and resources. You can use what’s a single accreditation process rather than having to obtain multiple accreditations.
  • When you receive your Joint Accreditation, you can also offer education that’s not team-related.
  • You’ll be able to keep your program in good standing when team-based patient care and healthcare both improve.

EthosCE lets you provide quality IPCE in accordance with the Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education criteria. It gives your organization an enterprise-grade technology through a single platform so you can easily meet Criterion 23 compliance and help your multiple healthcare professionals gain their IPCE credits without having to follow a separate accreditation for each profession.

Use Accessible, Universal Course Design

When you’re planning your CE courses, you should use accessible, universal course design that’s user-friendly for your medical professionals. Your courses should include:

  • Online quizzes, surveys, and other materials at any point in the course, including pre- and post-test assessments
  • Rich, multimedia questions and embedded videos
  • Multiple-choice options, true-false queries, and essays with support for other common question formats

Universal course design is sometimes thought of as accommodation for different learning abilities, including vision- or hearing-impaired learners. Besides this, it can actually improve engagement and satisfaction among all learners. You might find that some students watch content repeatedly and use transcriptions. Others learn better from videos. For some adult learners, terms and concepts may need reinforcement and should be provided at the learner’s best pace.

Many doctors are now indicating their preferences for digital learning. Here are a few examples from the report from on24 and the MedData Group:

  • About 84% would prefer to complete their CE online.
  • About 63% say that early evening is the best time to schedule live online CE.
  • Roughly 50% reported that virtual CE is becoming more acceptable compared to live events (think about all the money saved!).
  • About 80% thought that a view-on-demand feature was the most attractive feature of an online learning event.

Are you ready for this rather amusing side note? The same physicians surveyed said this: 61.8% believe that a presenter with a non-nasally voice is a must-have for CME voice events!

With all this in mind, you can offer courses that can improve their satisfaction rates. Design your courses with accessibility and learner diversity in mind.

You also need the tools that make up good course designs and provide accessibility. Courses should be created for all audiences, so when you use a universal course design, this increases usability that in turn, makes your courses accessible for a wide range of learners.

What should you look for when designing a universal and accessible course design?

  • Use simple, consistent navigation. This includes providing a table of contents. Have all links controlled by keyboard-only navigation.
  • Write concise, meaningful text for each link (no “Click Here”).
  • Use captioned videos and transcribed audio clips.
  • Use color with care.
  • Provide written descriptions of graphics.
  • Use written descriptions of graphics.
  • Provide readable text that matches your content and assessment.
  • Rethink and redesign PowerPoint presentations when needed.
  • Demonstrate and teach proper discussion board etiquette, such as, “Question about Question 1,” instead of merely using, “Question.”

Taking these into consideration, EthosCE supports individually-paced and accessible learning in your medical CE courses on nearly every device, including iPhone, iPad, and Android. You can provide accessible content that reaches out and drives learner satisfaction.

The Right LMS for the Best Medical Professional Satisfaction

Let’s go over what EthosCE can give you when it comes to improving your learners’ satisfaction.

Easy and intuitive social content addition

EthosCE supports audio and video content sharing via webcasts and other media. When you combine these with discussion boards and email contact, you can develop a complete social learning environment for your CE courses. Discussion boards can support the aforementioned peer-learning activities. When you share your online content, you support enrollment growth and retention. Use a public part of your course to encourage enrollment and ongoing engagement with new and existing learners. EthosCE’s add-ons let you turn lectures into e-learning activities.

Get an entire collection of assessment tools with deeper learning experiences

EthosCE enables you to give online quizzes and surveys and other materials to assess your learners at any time during a course. These include pre- and post-assessments. There’s a full range of tools to fully assess your learners:

  • Use multiple-choice, true-or-false, essay, and other common question types.
  • Get learner feedback during an assessment globally or specific to a question or a learner’s response.
  • Create multimedia questions and easily embed videos.
  • Create follow-up assessments that automatically notify learners based on the interval you set, like a thirty-day follow-up assessment.
  • Create and support your design of collaborative assignments and assessments based on learning outcomes rather than the traditional (and boring) rote memorization, quizzes, lists, and tests.

The ability to measure learning engagement

As you’re developing your courses, you may wonder how often learners are accessing their courses, how consistent they are, and the depth of that engagement. EthosCE allows you to see how learners are being engaged on a per-course basis and across your enterprise. There are built-in reports that enable you to understand your course’s engagement, from demographics to completion rates.

Automate admin tasks to create courses that focus on learning experiences

When you’re busy doing other things—like admin tasks—you’re left with little time for course development. Learning experiences and satisfaction are key here.

EthosCE can automate administrative tasks. Automation helps you deal with those time-consuming admin functions like enrollment, reminders, course completion, and certificates. There’s an attendance tracker to automatically record attendance, prevent cheating, and import report records of external meetings. You can even clone courses with one click and drag-and-drop.

All this frees you to develop active learning strategies, improve learner engagement, and enhance your content with accessible and interesting materials.

Offer your learners rich multimedia content

There will be no more boring text-based materials when EthosCE enables you to create live courses for meetings or instructor-led training. You can also put all your learning online in an enduring format. EthosCE provides you with:

  • Full multimedia support.
  • The ability to easily add YouTube video or upload your own video or Flash learning content
  • The use of popular applications like Captivate, Articulate, and Adobe Presenter
  • SCORM and Tin Can support
  • The ability to restrict and/or hide course components based on time or prerequisites

Take your show on the road

EthosCE lets you create a live course and take it on the road, whether it’s to the classroom or the conference center. You can take that same live course and track the offline learning in EthosCE. You’ll see the offline users in the same place as online users.

You can also perform several other functions:

  • Create registrations and course information pages.
  • Track and enforce attendance as part of completion.
  • Allow an instructor to set a pass/fail status based on offline events.
  • Send mail reminders of upcoming events.
  • Integrate with event management software.
  • Record attendance via mobile phones.

Finally, once they’re done with a course, your learners can receive a customized and branded certificate indicating their course completion.

Keep them coming back

To keep learners coming back for more—and growing learner numbers is always a good thing—you can send out emails about new events and courses taking place and when a follow-up assessment is available.

Leverage EthosCE for Your Continuing Education Platform

When you need to accomplish your goals to provide great content for your medical professionals satisfaction, you need to add value. If not, those learners are out the door to another provider. When you choose the right LMS, you can create multiple courses, have control over your admin tasks, and streamline the entire compliance process.

Board, state, and government CE is mandatory for medical professionals. EthosCE’s easy-to-use enterprise-grade LMS supplies the tools you need to provide great courses and demonstrates why CE is essential, so you can offer quality experiences for your learners’ satisfaction. Take your CE courses to the next level. Engaged learners are satisfied learners.

EthosCE believes CME technology solutions should be designed to improve healthcare professionals’ user experience, comply with ACCME guidelines, reduce administrative costs, and demonstrate measurable outcomes. 


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