During a recent PW Podcast, Rachel Giles, MD, from Medicom Medical Publishers, spoke with Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) about trends in CME, and how physicians can stay up to date with the latest clinical developments. Check out part of the interview:

How has CME evolved in the last few years?

CME has changed by necessity, because what we learned 10, 5, or even 1 year ago doesn’t apply. The CME industry and community have responded effectively to that too, not just because of the pandemic, but because of the changes in our understanding of how professionals learn and how they improve their practice and their skills. We want to make sure, as a regulator, that clinicians have access to the right type of information and learning experiences to drive practice and performance, and that it is a real learning experience. We want activities to be flexible, learner centric, and easy to get up and running and get credit for.

And, we want to be sure that it’s protected from industry influence and bias, so that clinicians know that the CE system is here to help them and their patients and not serve some other purpose. We have to—and are—increasing and optimizing virtual learning experiences to blend longitudinal interactions with the learner and to use sophisticated online learning technologies that are able to help clinicians realize where they are and reflect on that, through feedback from their peers and experts, and improve. The future will include smaller group work and courses that are skill- and competency-based, not just information transfer.

How do you encourage physicians to obtain those skills?

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First, clinicians need to ask themselves, “Am I really as competent and providing as effective patient care as I think I am, or am I relying on skills that I may have learned several years ago?” Inculcating that degree of humility and selfevaluation is the first step to improving professional development. Then we are open to learn more effectively and can find learning activities that are going to build or meet that competency expectation.

How can we use CME to instill confidence in healthcare professionals about the COVID 19 vaccine?

The ACCME created LearnToVaccinate.org, which incorporates a variety of educational strategies to overcome vaccine hesitancy, where clinicians can learn not just how to store the vaccine or how to implement a vaccine program, but more importantly, how to communicate with patients about vaccine hesitancy, as well as how to recognize, understand, and put in context the balance of risks and benefits with the vaccines. It is not a natural skill for us know how to overcome vaccine hesitancy, but it is a skill that can be learned.