Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

Can CME delivered through EHRs improve patient outcomes?

By Jennifer Bresnick

Continuing medical education (CME) seems like more of a burden than anything else to 81% of providers who would like to see more of a direct link between the educational modules and improving patient outcomes, says a new poll by Amazing Charts.  While CME delivered at the point of care does help most providers gain valuable insights into patient management, few courses are designed or conducted with EHRs in mind, which may represent a missing opportunity to make physician education a more edifying and useful part of professional life.

More than three hundred EHR users responded to the survey, conducted between March and July.  Seventy-eight percent of participants believed that bedside CME was effective in improving care when delivered as decision support, but just 1% of CME was conducted through an EHR system.  As EHRs transform from documentation tools to full suites of decision support technology, urged on by requirements in Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs, there seems to be a significant opportunity to integrate practice and proficiency in health IT systems into what is usually a mandatory experience in the first place.

“Our survey points to a clear demand for medical education to help improve the treatment and improvement of patients,” said John Squire, president and COO of Amazing Charts. “Beyond using data analytics to help bridge the divide, what’s needed are the technology tools that can help clinicians access personalized education and resources to address the needs of their specific patient population.”

In 2012, Amazing Charts merged with CME vendor Pri-Med for just that purpose.  “We can do a better job of understanding the correlation between CME and better patient outcomes today,” wrote John Mooney, President and CEO of Pri-Med and Jonathan Bertman, President of Amazing Charts, for EHRintelligence last year. “Utilization of electronic health record (EHR) systems to integrate clinical data analytics and CME will facilitate more prescriptive education designed to specifically meet gaps in knowledge and care while improving patient outcomes. Moreover, we can better design extended curriculums that best serve a clinician’s interest and define clinical care gaps by particular patient populations.”

In states like Massachusetts, which is preparing to require EHR proficiency as a condition of licensure, CME delivered through EHRs may simply be the unavoidable future.  And as patient outcomes increasingly impact the financial health of providers, providing education to physicians not only in the art of diagnosis and treatment, but also in the use of health IT, may help to move the needle on quality, patient safety, and outcomes.

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