the University of Georgia.
The report, which calls for a radical overhaul of CE,
identifies five factors that are key for effective CE:
• Incorporating needs assessments to ensure that material is
relevant to learners’ needs.
• Emphasizing interactivity, such as group reflection and
opportunities to rehearse.
• Using feedback to engage participants in learning.
• Using multiple instruction methods and giving participants
enough time to process content.
• Simulating participants’ own clinical settings.
“There’s consensus about the mechanisms of action likely to
improve practice outcomes,” says Cervero, who summarizes the
literature in a chapter in the 2012 book “Continuing Education:
Issues, Impacts and Outcomes.” “We know how to do it, if we
would just do it.”
Some organizations have already started to put the IOM
recommendations into practice, and the changes are having a
measureable effect on patient care.
Take heart failure, for instance. Cardiologists generally think
they’re providing the best treatment for the condition, yet many
aren’t adhering to evidence-based treatment guidelines, says
psychologist Blake T. Andersen, PhD, president and chief executive
officer of the HealthSciences Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.
To change that, the institute developed learning programs
and tools for an initiative called Improve HF (Heart Failure). The
intervention began with an assessment of how well cardiologists
at 167 cardiology clinics were adhering to guidelines for using
specific medication and therapies and providing patient education
— quality measures selected for their potential impact on patient
outcomes. Practices then underwent an intervention that included
a one-day training focused on needs identified in their baseline