Like the Technology Industry, the Health Care Industry is continually evolving and this means Health Care Professionals (HCPs) have a need to ensure they continue to acquire the latest knowledge within their field of speciality. For example a HCP practising as a General Practitioner (GP) may need to ensure that they are well versed in their speciality of “Primary care”.
This is where the need for Continued Medical Education (CME) comes to the fore. HCPs need to balance their need for CME to keep up with the latest information against their primary goal of ensuring their patients (their end customers) day to day needs are met. To achieve this they need to ensure they have access to relevant CME content that is convenient and flexible. The latter objectives makes online CME content delivered as eLearning via a Learning Management System (LMS) very relevant. This can be further combined with a Learning Needs Analysis (LNA) tool to ensure the knowledge gaps of HCPs are identified and targeted CME content is provided as part of “Educational Objectives“, that help bridge these knowledge gaps identified.
Educational Objectives are among the most important steps in planning a CME activity. They come from the LNA, which identifies what HCPs have to learn to help improve the health outcomes for their patients. These Educational Objectives can be defined within a Learning Plan within an LMS to help HCPs plan their learning and ensure they close the knowledge gaps to achieve any CME/CPD points they need to achieve to maintain their professional status. Also, the long term goal is to ensure that the HCP can put into practice what they have learnt when they return to their clinical setting.
The added benefit of using an LMS and LNA for a CME planning process is that it ensures that the content presented is not created in a vacuum but has been designed and created with the aim of meeting specific Educational Objectives of a program for a HCP’s Speciality; such as Primary Care or Oncology or Diabetes. These educational objectives must be Specific, Definite and Succinct. Whereby ensuring that the HCP will understand or comprehend by the end of the learning activity their Educational Objective.
The further additional benefit of a LMS is that the LMS’s Learning Plan feature can also be extended to support the certification process for CME/CPD points. HCPs can print out their certificates for any CME Points achieved from undertaking learning within the LMS. The solution can also be extended so the LMS can share CME points information with Health Agencies in countries that manage HCPs to ensure they maintain a specific level of standards in terms of knowledge. The latter is appropriate, for example, in the UK where the “re-validation” process is key for all GPs to show they are maintaining a current level of knowledge within primary care to provide the best possible service and information to their patients.
So in summary we can see the LMS can support the need for CME within the Health Care Industry, where this can not only support online learning but move beyond this to Webinars and Webcasts as shown by my previous blog posts.
Also on a personal note I would recommend that when you see your HCP, you see one that is actively following a CME process as they will be best placed to offer you the best care and information!