If you want to improve, you have to know where you are and know where you want to go. Addressing practice-based problems and their underlying educational needs is the starting point. But, the next important feature of accredited CME is asking, “What is this activity going to change?”
We want you to be thoughtful and reflective about the role you play to facilitate change. Your CME mission statement is your guide. It provides the big picture—your strategic plan for how CME will change your learners’ practice and patient outcomes.
In your day-to-day educational planning, we want you to think about what you intend for educational activities to change. Conveying new information and building understanding is an important foundation for learning. But, accredited CME is about application to practice. So, at a minimum, you need to design activities to change not only what your learners know, but take the next step to help them put that knowledge into action—into practice. This is the difference between knowledge and competence in ACCME’s requirements. Instead of only asking, “What do you know as a result of an educational activity?” you need to ask, “Based on what you know now, what will you do differently?” Some providers use learning objectives or other purpose statements to share with learners what kinds of changes the activity has been designed to facilitate. You can also design educational activi-ties to change what your learners do in practice, with the intent of changing their performance. And, you can design educational activities to change patient outcomes—the care delivered to patients, impacts on health, patient satisfaction or engagement.
We know that change is hard and that a single CME activity may not be sufficient to change practice and care on a grand scale. But, herewe’re back to the CME mission statement—your learning and change road map—designing activities to change competence, performance, patient outcomes are all incremental steps along the journey to make real change happen for your learners, patients, and your organization.