>>SINGER: Hi I’m Steve Singer, I am the Director of Education & Outreach at the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.
>>MUIR: Hi, my name is Danna Muir, and I’m the Manager of Education & Accreditation Outreach at the Massachusetts Medical Society I’m also the staff liaison for the MMS committee on accreditation review.
>>SINGER: So, Dana, welcome, and tell me about the organization that you work with.
>>MUIR: OK. I work for the Massachusetts Medical Society and we are the physician advocacy group for the state of Massachusetts we have about 19,000 members. And my role there is that I’m the manager of accreditation and education outreach and we accredit 56 providers, which consists of community hospitals, specialty societies, our state QIO organization and also the department of public health.
>>SINGER: So, there’s really a variety of providers that you work with
>>SINGER: and tell me a little bit, you mentioned community hospitals, is that a large percentage of the providers that you accredit?
>>MUIR: Absolutely. It is the highest number actually of accredited providers that we work with, we have about 10 specialty societies that we’re currently working with as well.
>>SINGER: OK. And tell me if you can, I mean I don’t know if it’s possible, generalize for that group, but among that group what is the CME department, the CME function in those organizations look like? Is there a gestalt to what you see in terms of staffing , in terms of personnel?
>>MUIR: Yes. I think typically, we, there’s a director of medical education and then there’s a CME coordinator. We also see that sometimes the CME coordinator wears many hats; they may be responsible not only for CME, but they may also be responsible for credentialing, they may also staff the library. So, they do have a variety of roles within their organization.
>>SINGER: OK. And we talked about the role that physicians play, so, and when we’re talking about physicians we’re not talking about physicians who are staff of the CME department, but really physicians who are engaged by the CME department in some way. So, can we talk a little bit about sort of what you see and what you found in terms of those physician champions?
>>MUIR: Well, since the implementation of the Update Accreditation Criteria what we found to be those programs that we call more successful or that have achieved accreditation with accommodation, they have a physician champion as a leader. And typically those physicians have strong communication skills, they have excellent listening skills, they’re engaged with their medical staff, you know, whether it’s formally or informally. They are also good organizers, they’re leaders within their organizations.
>>SINGER: So, dynamic personalities, dynamic folks, within the institution. And then how does, again I don’t know that you can generalize, but if you can see what are the qualities of the way in which the CME department or CME function or staff work with those physician champions. How do they, perhaps, how do they approach them? Or how do these relationships start?
>>MUIR: Well, I think, first of all, the physician champion is really concerned about improving patient care within their organization. I think that’s a vital piece. They’re also, concerned about education in their own organization. And so, these physicians are working with their quality improvement department, they’re working with pharmacy, they’re finding out what they need to do in their hospital to improve patient care.
>>SINGER: So, they’re engaging, they’re looking at a goal or a requirement in terms of the performance of the hospital or objectives in terms of quality that work on a organizational level and finding a way to utilize CME as a mode to achieve that or as a solution?
>>MUIR: Absolutely, Steve.
>>SINGER: to try to address that?
>>MUIR: In addition what we found is many of these physicians serve on multiple committees within their own organization. So, they have a formal network where garnering information through their committee work. But they’re also engaged in discussions with the department heads, committee chairs; they’re very, very active and engaged within their hospitals. This takes place, as I said, both formally through the committee structure and also informally with their relationships that they’ve built.
>>SINGER: So, when you look, because you are an accreditor like the ACCME, as accreditor within the state system. And as you look as an accreditor at the spread of accredited providers that you work with, when you see providers who do not engage with physician champions can you see from that any telltale signs? Any strategies that are absent? What do you see in those?
>>MUIR: I think, what we see is there’s not that connection there between that particular individual in terms of engagement necessarily with committees within the hospital, I think that we also see that they may not be participating on a state level in terms of improving their own learning. So, we’ve gone in to our organizations and we’ve see that, for instance, some of our providers may not have been aware that they’re required to identify practice gaps in that they’re currently, they’re looking at the old system, ’98. But, they also need to now implement and identify what the practice gap is. So, we’re seeing that, if there’s not that engagement there, that the knowledge isn’t there on where CME is moving.
>>SINGER: That’s interesting. So, that there’s these concentric circles of relationships and engagement between just within the organization between the physicians and their CME departments and these other organizational foci like quality assurance. And then you’re also saying that there’s a level of engagement of the CME people as well as the I guess the physicians they’re working with CME as a Bridge to Quality with our accreditation criteria and that where there’s a lack of engagement over that or a lack of commitment their continuing education for their own CME enterprise within the organization that that may also be sort of a sign for the kind of engagement or the insight that they might have for working with other parts of the hospital realizing that connection.
>>MUIR: Right. Another thing that we’ve seen with the physician champion is that they promote their CME activity within their institution and they also have taken the extra step and have gone before their board of trustees or their board of directors. And, so, they’ve been able to share the results of what ahs been effective within the hospital, what has improved the quality of care. And tied that in, the results of the CME program and really promoted what it can do for the hospital or
>>SINGER: So, you’ve talked about sort of the sales proposition of CME staff, physician champions that they’ve engaged with being able to successfully sell this idea of CME as a strategic asset of value of CME. And I guess I’m wondering, almost from the reciprocal if there’s an opportunity where you as an accreditor or the ACCME as an accreditor can communicate directly to those stakeholders? How can we help from the other direction? And what can we from a systems standpoint do to drive that audience toward their CME folks. What kind of messages or what, what
>>MUIR: Well, I think, first of all supporting the, providing the resources is important. I think the message needs to get out that leaders of accredited providers need to provide the appropriate resources, whether it’s staffing resources, whether it’s financial resources, there has to be a level of commitment from the top of the organization. I think that’s really important that, board of trustees, or leaders of specialty societies, that there definitely has to be a commitment from that organization that they are committed to providing the resources. I think that’s very, very important. We’ve seen, you know, where the resources haven’t been they haven’t devoted enough resources is that sometimes there might be some issues there with compliance, because there’s not enough staffing to devote to the requirements. So, certainly I think it’s really really important.
>>SINGER: So, sort of one feeds into the other.
>>SINGER: goes hand in hand
>>MUIR: Right. I think the key message really is that that the resources need to be devoted to the CME program. And I think there’s, we can see there’s a return on investment when the resources are given. I think that we’ve seen that in Massachusetts.
>>SINGER: What do you see from the physician champions who are working closely with their CME department? What pervades their commitment? How is their commitment expressed?
>>MUIR: Well, I think one of the important things that we’ve seen in these physician champions, Steve, is that they also approach their colleagues and try to get them engaged within the CME process themselves. They recruit colleagues to become part of the CME committee; they recruit them to be part of the educational planning process. They are enthusiastic about CME and they really do see the effectiveness of CME and how it can help their own institution.
>>SINGER: So, that enthusiasm really sort of bubbles up through their involvement and through the institution.
>>SINGER: Thank you.
>>MUIR: You’re welcome.
This is a transcript of Engaging Physician Champions in CME.
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