Why invest in CME?

An investment in CME (Continuing Medical Education) brings numerous benefits to your organisation. It’s important for fulfilling your corporate and social responsibilities. It also raises your credibility, standing and profile in the therapy area.

And consider the areas of clinical practice in your field which, if improved, would benefit patients. It might be better diagnosis, closer adherence to guidelines, increased provision of counselling or improved side effect management to avoid adherence problems or dropout.

At present, you can’t focus your CME content on these topics (due to the potential for inappropriate influence). You may genuinely believe that better treatment – across the whole armamentarium – will benefit all stakeholders. If any objective look at the field would identify the same issues, then CME is the best investment you can make to bring about these improvements in practice.

CME vs unaccredited education

Unaccredited education allows you the freedom to focus heavily on pharmaceutical aspects of treatment and your own product. It also gives you full control of the selection of your chair, faculty, speakers and content, so you can be sure your key messages are reflected throughout.

However, in circumstances where you hope that your education will bring about wider improvements in the management of patients’ health, unaccredited education has some drawbacks.

  • Firstly, your audience tends to be limited to onside and industry-friendly clinicians. The audience for CME is wider and reaches a more heterogeneous population of health professionals than you can directly.
  • Secondly, the likelihood that clinical practice will really change depends on the degree to which the audience believes the message. The message from pharmaceutical education is naturally treated with some scepticism. If you genuinely want to support better uptake of evidence-based medicine, you need to recognise that your direct involvement can be a barrier to that.
  • Meanwhile, many clinicians will rightly feel uncomfortable having their clinical practice redirected by industry: the independence of CME gives faculty the opportunity to be provocative and to more strongly advocate improvements in treatment.
  • Finally, by offering accreditation for ongoing participation in outcomes follow-up and refreshers, participants can be motivated to provide long-term data, allowing the benefit to be properly assessed.