Options and Opportunities: Leveraging the Value of Continuing Medical Education

In the field of medicine , the only constant is change. With new technologies, practices and innovations, a healthcare provider’s education cannot stop once a license or examination is done. Instead all medical professionals make a concerted effort to continue their education throughout their career, in order to keep abreast with best practices in the industry. Continuing medical education (CME) encompasses education based activities that help to maintain, develop and increase the knowledge, skills and professional performance that healthcare workers use to provide services for their patients or for the community. The content used in CMEs is a large and constantly updated body of knowledge and skills , recognised and accepted by scientific and clinical professionals.

Choosing the Right CME

  1. CME programs can be tailor made for specific branches of medicine like surgery, gynecology etc, or they can be generalized courses that help all health care workers, like Basic life Support, Acute Cardiac Life Support or Pediatric Life Support courses.

  2. There are also courses that aim to assist physicians in carrying out their professional responsibilities. For example, a course in risk management and mitigation, or one on burns management would be and ideal CME for physicians responsible for managing a healthcare facility, while a course in educational methodology would be appropriate for physicians teaching in teaching hospitals.

  3. With the COVID-19 Pandemic disrupting operations in various hospitals and healthcare organizations, there is an increased focus, through relevant updates and courses on the Sterilization and Disinfection protocols as well as infection control practices that medical professionals would benefit from.


The requirements for CMEs vary across medical disciplines in different countries, however they all serve an important function in improving the healthcare provider’s scope of practice. The American Hospital Association’s Physician Leadership Forum examined the potential of CME in hospitals, when used as a strategic tool to solidify physician-hospital alignment. Their report, “Continuing Medical Education as a Strategic Resource,” determined that while physicians largely agreed on the value of CME in improvement of academic knowledge and patient care, (rated 4.2 on a five point scale), there is room to expand the CME topics to include:


  • Practical information on increasing the efficiency of physician practice
  • Encouraging system-based and evidence based care delivery
  • Communication across the continuum, helping with team work and physician engagement in healthcare organizations. This helps in driving forward the hospital’s quality agenda and performance improvement initiatives.

An Effective CME helps healthcare professionals to:

  • Refine their clinical skills to improve overall patient care
  • Stay updated with recent developments in their field of interest
  • Address practical, real-world challenges in medical practice
  • Grow professionally and obtain a means to advance their careers
  • Meet licensing/certification or regulatory requirements for annual registrations with country or state medical councils.
  • Board certified and registered healthcare professionals receive higher reimbursement rates, and lower malpractice premiums.
  • Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements or granting CME credits for activities related to Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluation (OPPE) or Focused Professional Practice Evaluation (FPPE), all help with building the provider’s professional profile, credibility and evidence of competence.
  • Share their expertise and increase their distinction in their specialty by speaking at CME activities 

Leveraging the Value of CME

1. Train the Trainer

“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”

Peter Drucke

The teacher and learner is a two way relationship, where engagement is key. Invested training of instructors reaps benefits with student engagement and learning. A healthcare provider who learns best practices through CME can then percolate this knowledge to others in the same organization, leading to wide spread implementation, improving the standard of care delivery.

2. Study the Simulations

"What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand."

D. Blocher

The value of simulations and hands on experience while training cannot be undermined. However, according to the  American Hospital Association report, simulations only account for 1 percent of CME activities. Scheduling role play sessions during continuing education classes can greatly benefit the way students grasp ,retain and apply information in real life scenarios.

2. Adaptable Academics

“You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way.”

Marvin Minsky

Traditionally CME activities may be in the form of live events, written publications, online programs, audio and video. However, with the need for social distancing CME programs have taken the virtual route, adopting creative means to reach wider audiences. 2020 saw a large boom in webinars and video conferencing based educational sessions and professional networking conferences that were widely attended.

 Studies show that a mixture of traditional and virtual learning methods significantly improves physician engagement with teaching modules and courses for CMEs.


They found this method of blended learning to be a very useful way to gain and transfer knowledge into practice.


CMEs  are  crucial to the progress of healthcare providers as it allows practitioners to learn and discover viable ways to improve the care they deliver as well as manage a fulfilling career in the ever-changing landscape of the medical industry.


There are a lot of options when choosing CME courses. It is important to keep in mind that accreditation is required in order for a CME program to be valid for licensing or credentialing. Programs  that offer a diverse collection of courses, encourages growth within a specialty as well as advancement beyond, if desired.


In Dubai, the DHA (Dubai Health Authority) developed a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Guideline to ensure the quality and stability of healthcare professionals, including doctors, dentists, nursing staff.


A great option for keeping up with changes in one’s focus area in medicine are the courses offered by Safety First Medical Services, whose activities are constantly reviewed and updated by an experienced medical content team, ensuring the material is current and relevant for the times.


  1. Cervero, R.M. and Gaines, J.K. (2015), The Impact of CME on Physician Performance and Patient Health Outcomes: An Updated Synthesis of Systematic Reviews. J. Contin. Educ. Health Prof., 35: 131-138. doi:1002/chp.21290
  2. authors, All, and E. te Pas. “Blended Learning in CME: the Perception of GP Trainers.” Taylor & Francis, 2016,