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 within the scientific content.
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 on-side 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 more strongly advocate improvements in treatment.
- Finally, by offering accreditation for on-going participation in outcomes follow-up and refreshers, participants can be motivated to provide long-term data, allowing the benefit to be properly assessed.