An effective CME program focuses on more than just information gaps in medical knowledge … it also provides family physicians with useful, evidence-based insights on how to deal with important clinical challenges that they encounter daily in their medical practice.
Research suggests that a new clinical question occurs for every two to three encounters that family physicians have with their patients, and providing answers to these important questions could impact as many as five to eight clinical decisions they make each day!
Most family physicians want to make quality clinical decisions consistent with best evidence and best medical practices, and current clinical practice guidelines. However, with the amount of new clinical data published each year, and their limited ability to search and critically evaluate the medical literature, family physicians are often not able to obtain the answers they need on their own.
As a result, many will continue to make clinical decisions based mostly on their past experience … decisions that may not result in the best treatment outcomes for their patients.
What Clinical Questions Should You Answer?
Academic research has shown that evidence-based educational content,packaged in the form of comprehensive answers to specific and important clinical topics or questions, is of high perceived value to family physicians. However, formulating the right questions is an important first step.
General questions about a particular disease or medical condition, about diagnostic tests or about drug treatment, such as: “How does an elevated blood serum cholesterol level increase the risk of myocardial infarction?” are referred to as ‘background’ questions. More specific clinical questions that focus on decisions related to the management of individual patients are called ‘foreground’ questions. An example of this type of question is: “In adults with hypercholesterolemia, how would the use of statins lower risk of myocardial infarction as compared to a change in diet or lifestyle?”
When developing educational content, many CME/CPD providers focus on providing answers to general clinical questions only, instead of addressing the more specific and important learning needs of the target audience.
What is our Approach?
The International Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (IC-EBM) Canada is an established, national, non-profit physician organization comprised of professors of family medicine from a number of leading university medical schools across Canada. Our members are also actively involved in managing patients in a real medical setting, and understand the day-to-day clinical challenges faced by community-based primary care physicians.
As experts in medical education, we are highly competent in evaluating both the published medical literature and clinical practice guidelines for development of both innovative and highly engaging continuing medical educational programs.
While each program is custom designed, our programs often emphasize a discussion of ‘critically appraised topics’ (or CATs), as well as providing family physicians and other healthcare professionals with specific answers to important ‘PICO’ questions – i.e. – ones that focus on a specific patient or disease, an intervention (a drug or diagnostic test), a comparison (with another drug, placebo, or test), and outcome.
In addressing each critically appraised topic or clinical question, we also provide a “bottom line” answer, based on a synopsis of the best evidence related to the clinical question, as well as a commentary on our research findings (and limitations of the study data), and implications for clinical practice.
As a result, our continuing medical educational programs not only address important information gaps/needs, they also lead to a meaningful change in clinical decision-making and practice behaviour.
For a briefing on how we can help you to take your CME/CPD programs to a higher level, and get the most from your educational investment, please contact us.