Every day, CME staff and volunteers are working to make a difference for clinicians, teams, and patients. We are sharing examples of real-world exemplary practices to help build a community of practice that enables CME providers to learn from each other, continually improve their education, and demonstrate how accredited CME measurably improves healthcare.
These cases were selected from the accreditation decision reports of providers who received Accreditation with Commendation in the last year.
American Association for Physician Leadership
Promoting Patient Safety: We worked with the National Patient Safety Foundation to produce “Championing Patient Safety,” a video about how leadership is the key to patient safety. The video highlights five key themes: education, care integration, patient engagement, workforce safety, and transparency. By doing so, this video reinforces the need for physician leaders to ensure these topics are considered in their daily work.
Peter Angood, MD, FRCS(C), FACS, MCCM
President and CEO
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Monitoring the Healthcare Landscape: We use surveys of our members and our advocacy council to monitor the national healthcare landscape and identify factors outside of our control that impact patient outcomes, such as reimbursement and insurance issues, obstacles with ineffective electronic health records systems, organizational culture and systems-based issues at healthcare institutions, and a general lack of resources. In one instance, member feedback identified issues with billing and reimbursement for allergen extracts. The Practice Management Committee viewed this as a perfect opportunity for using education as a strategy for improving practice around this issue. We responded by developing webinars and toolkits to improve understanding among clinicians and their teams. As a result, patients’ access to allergen extract treatments increased through better billing and reimbursement practices.
Mary Carol Badat, MAdEd
Senior Director of Learning Solutions
Training Faculty as Mentors and Coaches: Research has shown that most doctors avoid having advance care planning conversations, largely because they don’t feel confident in leading them. In response, we used mentoring to improve internal medicine residents’ skills in advance care planning conversations to elicit seriously ill patients’ values and goals, and to guide their patients towards treatments that will match those preferences. We trained hospitalist and ambulatory faculty mentors to observe and coach the residents through practicing these conversations with their patients. Mentors were chosen based on their demonstrated commitment to resident education and interest in improving their own communication skills. We trained the mentors in a full-day CME activity, first training them in the Serious Illness Conversation Guide, a structured interview tool to help clinicians have high-quality advance care planning conversations with their patients, using simulated patients, and then training them in mentoring, using simulated learners. The mentors were taught to provide feedback to their learners powered by VitalTalk bedside coaching methodology. After this training, faculty were likely to change their clinical and teaching practices, frequently use the communication and teaching skills, and regularly encourage other faculty to use these skills. They greatly value the individualized feedback they received as clinicians and educators. As a result of participating in this activity, internal medicine residents gained significant skills in serious illness conversations, which were maintained through the 6-month duration of the program.
Maxwell T. Vergo, MD and Amelia M. Cullinan, MD
EXCEL Continuing Education
Preventing Medical Errors: We identified a lack of skills in interprofessional teamwork and communication as a contributing factor to medical errors. To address this barrier, we present CME that incorporates strategies for improving communications, such as root cause analysis, cross-referencing written directions, verifying verbal directions in writing, enhancing rapport, and validating written prescriptions that may be misread, incorrect, or inappropriate. One focus of this activity is to teach participants how to implement a series of steps to mitigate potential errors by sharing facts, inviting dialogue, and developing a mutual plan among HCPs and with patients. This is done by reviewing multiple real case examples then developing strategies to respond to such problems and prevent them in the future. Strategies include implementing surgical safety and pharmacy checklists, and disclosing a medical error by expressing concern and empathy, but not blaming, and presenting a plan. Participants reported that as a result of the activity, they intended to make changes in their practice, including the following: communicate with other clinicians involved in the patient’s care, contact the patient’s pharmacy to reconcile the medication list, communicate clearly with patients, improve documentation and checklists, and have patients bring all medication bottles to each clinical visit.
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
Addressing Prejudice: We recognized that clinicians’ prejudices were preventing them from improving their practice and patient care. During our Annual Diversity week, we conducted a series of presentations and panels on topics such as gender identity, gay and lesbian communities, and care of transgender patients. Speakers included Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU SOM) faculty or staff, a transgender teen who spoke about his experiences as a patient in a local pediatric clinic, and several members of local community organizations, including a team from The Phoenix Center, a local LGBTQ Community Center. Diversity Week began in 2009 and has steadily increased in attendance each year. No longer confined to just one week in October, additional educational opportunities on diversity issues have been added throughout the year. Following the activity, many participants shared that they intended to make specific changes in their work processes as a result of the education they received, from changing language used on patient intake forms and during a patient history interview to increased sensitivity when treating LGBTQ+ patients.
Laura Worrall, MS
Director, Office of Continuing Professional Development
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Improving Cultural Competencies: We developed several ongoing CME activities that teach competencies in the treatment of patients from diverse cultures, including a regular monthly series on caring for vulnerable populations, a recurring course addressing care in the Asian population, a recurring course on developmental disabilities for clinicians and families, and a biennial Transgender Health Summit. After participating in these CME activities, clinicians reported increased abilities to deliver care in a culturally-aware manner, with humility, empathy, and sensitivity. One clinician stated, “This was a refreshingly human look at medicine, really important to remind ourselves of the humanity of both our patients and ourselves and I think the course did a really great job of that, while addressing the specific needs of this population.” At a 90-day follow-up, learners at one of the courses reported that they had implemented at least one policy change in their care of Asian patients; improved their diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancers; reduced the excessive use of antibiotics; and increased Hepatitis B screening for Asians.
Tymothi M. Peters
Director, Office of Continuing Medical Education
The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
Improving Access to Data: Studies have shown that by analyzing complex data sets, clinicians can identify patterns that can improve patient care, yet institutional surveys showed a lack of clinician knowledge regarding access to quality data. In response, our team collaborated with the Center for Quality to develop educational sessions that increase clinicians’ engagement with big data. Topics such as “UCM Data: What's Available & How Can I Get It?” and “Avoiding Simple Solutions for Complex Healthcare Problems” are chosen based on needs identified by QI professionals in their interactions with clinicians. Evaluation results have shown participants are now more likely to use evidence-based data in their clinical decision making, and several QI projects have originated from these sessions. Average attendance has more than doubled since the project’s inception, and we hope to continue to expand its reach to encourage clinician interaction with big data.
Tom Weber, EdM
Associate Director, Center for Continuing Medical Education