Continuing medical education (CME) is changing rapidly. The descriptions of courses offered at HM09 reflect one of the more prevalent trends: Didactic lectures are being replaced by more innovative, interactive training sessions.
It’s a big reason why CME will continue to serve as “the hallmark method” to help medical professionals continue increasing their knowledge and improving their skills, says Sally Wang, MD, FHM, a hospitalist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Wang relates the shift to a famous saying from Chinese philosopher Confucius: “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”
CME, which is required of most medical professionals to maintain licenses to practice medicine, is a rapidly growing enterprise. Since 1998, the number of accredited providers increased by 10%, while the number of activities and physician participants has increased by 40%, according to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).
“You can’t just sit in a lecture,” Dr. Wang emphasizes. “You’re not going to absorb anything. You need to understand how you’re going to apply what you learn in practice.”
HM09 is following suit, offering an unprecedented number of hands-on training sessions. In one course, through the use of simulator models, participants will learn how to use ultrasound for safe and accurate vascular access. They’ll also have the opportunity to practice skin biopsies and lumbar punctures.
“I think that’s a reflection of our field,” says course director Joseph Ming-Wah Li, MD, FHM, SHM board member and director of the HM group at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “Hospitalists roll up their sleeves and get to work. We don’t talk about quality; we develop and implement programs to ensure quality. We don’t talk about teaching; we do it. We really hope this meeting will always be cutting-edge and set the tone for what we do as hospitalists in this country.”
Spread the Wealth of Knowledge
In a growing field such as HM, the benefits are almost limitless, says James W. Levy, PA-C, a physician assistant and hospitalist at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, Mich. “We have the luxury of working as a team, so it’s especially helpful when we go to CME events and bring back very current material. We can share that with the rest of the team, and that can extend the ‘bang for the buck,’ ” Levy says.
Levy acknowledges CMS isn’t the only way to keep current, but it’s an “important way,” he says. “With the hospitalist movement having caught on the way it has, we have a much bigger opportunity to standardize care and our approach from one provider to another. I think CME can play a vital role in that.”
Although CME opportunities vary, Levy prefers settings like SHM functions when interaction with colleagues complements—and often enhances—the lessons learned.
Dr. Li agrees, noting meetings such as HM09 provide an opportunity to get away from the daily grind and “get the juices flowing” in terms of thinking, learning, and sharing ideas with colleagues. He’s particularly excited about the diversity of this year’s course lineup, as well as the behind-the-scenes efforts intended to ensure participants get the most out of the experience.
The annual meeting committee provided considerable guidance to each presenter, outlining objectives for each talk and reviewing presentations to make sure those objectives were met. “More than ever, the quality of the talks are going to be very good and very consistent,” Dr. Li says.
For a complete course schedule and faculty lineup, or to register for HM09, visit www.hospitalmedicine.org/source/AM09/event.cfm?Event=AM09. TH
Mark Leiser is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.