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Learning Opportunity Recap: Best Practices for the Small CME Program

Every year I go to the Annual Conference of the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (ACEhp). I go to sessions where I learn about some amazing things that other accredited programs are doing. I marvel at all they are able to do. And then they conclude with an offhand comment about the dozens of people they have working in their program. That explains it. They have staff. Lots and lots of staff. Everyone working in a small program with a handful of employees at most is left wondering how they can implement anything they have learned.

After several years of shared grumbling, on November 16, 2022, representatives from 2 small continuing medical education (CME) programs hosted the ACEhp-sponsored webinar, "Best Practices for the Small CME Program." This session was part pearls of wisdom and part support group for those of us who find ourselves doing everything alone, or perhaps with 1 or 2 additional people on our teams. It included a lively chat of commiseration and recommendations as we turned our teams of 1 and 2 into a team of dozens, if only for an hour.

Key Takeaways
  1. Technology is your friend. A learning management system designed for CME and/or health care continuing education can automate many tasks for less money than hiring another FTE
  2. Faculty disclosures don't have to be done in writing. If you're having trouble getting someone to complete your form, get them on the phone and have them disclose verbally. What matters is that you're collecting the information and managing it in a timely manner
  3. If you're working with an educational partner, put the agreement in writing. Who is responsible for contacting speakers? Will there be commercial support, and if so, how will it be handled? What are the deadlines? What are the consequences if those deadlines aren't met? Save yourself later headaches by making sure everything is spelled out from the beginning. And remember that an educational partner could be another department in your organization, not just an outside group
  4. Try to have more than 1 contact with any educational partner you're working with, just in case your primary contact stops responding to your messages

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