Saturday, October 10, 2009

Should CME be mandatory for physicians?

In the world of rapidly changing medicine, how often should physicians participate in continuing medical education (CME)? Did you know that some states actually don't require physicians to complete any CME activities? Most states require a certain number of CME credits for relicensure, but most state medical boards are not actually checking to ensure that physicians are up-to-date on their CME requirements. They simply have a box that you check that indicates that you have met the CME requirements for relicensure. In the event that you were audited, you would need to show proof of your CME participation.

What's especially interesting is that certain states require CME in specific topic areas such as:
  • medical ethics
  • risk management
  • pain management
  • cultural competency
  • domestic violence
  • end-of-life care
  • medical error prevention
  • bioterrorism
  • geriatrics
  • prescribing controlled substances
  • and more
You'll notice that the only topic that relates to a specific diseases is HIV/AIDS. Does it really make sense for every physician to take CME courses in these specific areas? For instance, if I'm a pathologist, do I really need to learn about domestic violence? What if I'm a radiologist?

Well, in my opinion, these CME requirements are reasonable, so as long as physicians don't complain too much, I don't think that state medical boards will be making any significant revisions in the near future. 

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