Paving the innovative road for CME/CPD

Growth in continuing professional development helps learners across the state on the journey of lifelong learning

May 3, 2016

CPD teamThe School of Medicine's office of continuing professional development (pictured at right*) is leading educational efforts aimed at quality improvement and patient safety while reaching more people in more places – and in more ways – than ever before. In its annual report to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the school reported a record number of 170 activities offered to 36,056 physicians and 17,500 other health care professionals in 2015. 

Thanks in part to a wide variety of new offerings – such as Affirmative Mental Health for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth, which brought participants from 19 states, Puerto Rico and British Columbia – this growth in activities represents a 19 percent increase over 2014 and a 31 percent increase over 2013. In addition, the number of instructional hours grew by 21 percent over 2014. 

The growth can also be chalked up to the school's state-wide reach and collaboration on series that are jointly-sponsored by OHSU and community partners such as Columbia Memorial Hospital, Mid-Columbia Medical Center and Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. 

"It is gratifying to see more providers engaging with our programs and building relationships with OHSU," said Michele Favreau, Ph.D., associate dean of continuing professional development and lifelong learning, OHSU School of Medicine. "As we make progress in modernizing and diversifying our offerings, we'll offer even richer and more relevant activities, further improving access to OHSU CME."

Five traveling CME programs were available in 2015 – offered by the Knight Cancer Institute, Knight Cardiovascular Institute, the OHSU Brain Institute and the departments of orthopaedics and rehabilitation and pediatrics. Thirty-five events served providers in locations such as Corvallis, Coos Bay, Lebanon, Stayton and Vancouver. 

Dr. Vishnu MohanFor Vishnu Mohan, M.D., MBCS, MBI, FACP, assistant professor of medical informatics and clinical epidemiology, and chair of the School of Medicine CME committee (at left), these changes represent just the first stage in a paradigm shift impacting continuing education. "CME doesn't occur in isolated silos or in large chunks. It happens continuously across a provider's career in a journey of learning," he said. 

Increasingly, CME educational activities are evolving – via educational philosophy, curriculum development, technology and interprofessionalism – in an effort to connect to the transformational educational changes afoot in undergraduate and graduate medical education. And more than ever, CME offerings emphasize quality improvement and patient safety, giving providers the real-time skills needed to create positive transformation in day-to-day practice. 

Building on the foundation of what has been offered in the past, new offerings also utilize distance learning and online tools. "Grand rounds, which have followed the same format for nearly a century, are still an important part of education. But today, departments like medicine and informatics are streaming these sessions," Dr. Mohan said. "Streaming formats usually follow the same educational framework, but learners and instructors may interact differently. For example, during clinical informatics grand rounds, learners can ask questions via Twitter."  

In the same vein, the office of continuing professional development recently began moving syllabi and evaluations online and increasing the number of activities offered through streaming. Hybrid offerings are an important part of the transformation of CME, whether that's online as in the case of streaming grand rounds, in the learner's home community as in the case of traveling CME or some combination of delivery models.  

To further connect to learners and their needs, office of continuing professional development has begun conducting focus groups, offered at recent pediatrics and primary care review conferences. These serve as a more immediate tool to better evaluate the effectiveness of CME activities by identifying topics to be covered and preferred educational modalities to support learning.

"When I became chair of the CME committee, I went to many different grand rounds to understand what offerings were on campus. I soon realized that OHSU is filled with truly excellent educators. It was astonishing to see so much expertise, knowledge, professionalism and compassion across so many disciplines," Dr. Mohan said. 

As the office of continuing professional development looks to the future, it hopes to make OHSU's tremendous educational acumen more accessible by collaborating across the OHSU learning community to unify resources and provide dual credit for continuing education as well as maintenance of certification for learning activities  

"We are on an innovative road," said Dr. Mohan.

*Above left to right: Jessica Berglund, Dr. Michele Favreau, Christine Flores, Alex Cotgreave and Leslie Doering