The evolution of medical education

Rebecca Aris interviews Maureen Doyle-Scharff

Pfizer

pharmaphorum’s Managing Editor, Rebecca Aris, interviews CME industry leader, Maureen Doyle-Scharff of Pfizer on how CME has changed and how it is evolving.

The past twenty years have seen significant change in the CME arena. We speak with CME Industry leader, Maureen Doyle-Scharff of Pfizer who has observed these changes over the course of her career.

She shares her views of how CME has changed over the past two decades and what she thinks industry involvement in CME will look like in the future.

Interview summary

RA: You’re considered a leader in the CME industry, could you please start by describing your background in medical education?

MDS: I have worked in some aspect of the CME arena for over twenty years, nearly all of that time employed by a pharmaceutical company. I have had the privilege of working with and leading some of the most talented people in this community and am proud of my volunteer work that includes the Board of Directors of the Alliance for CME, the Global Alliance for Medical Education and the AMA’s Task Force on CME Provider / Industry Collaboration. For the past three years, I’ve been working to complete my PhD in Higher Education, which I hope to finish in 2013.

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“It is important to understand that education might not always be the answer (in whole or in part) to the question…”

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RA: How have you seen medical education change over the past twenty years?

MDS: Medical education has evolved from a model that focuses on knowledge transfer and a credit system based on hours spent engaged in the education. It is now a needs-based, performance improvement model that seeks to hold learners accountable for their competence and focuses on directly or indirectly having an impact on patient care and outcomes.

RA: Could you please describe the current understanding of research and theory about curriculum design used in CPD?

MDS: Start with the end in mind (also called backward planning). What clinical problem are you trying to solve and from there determine what the most appropriate pathways are, including methodologies and content (curriculum design). It is important to understand that education might not always be the answer (in whole or in part) to the question (problem). A gap analysis can often help determine the potential root cause of a problem.

RA: What challenges are there when practically implementing this current understanding into CPD activities?

MDS: A lack of competency in conducting a real gap analysis. Also the idea of expanding beyond traditional education when all you’ve ever done is traditional knowledge transfer education is problematic for many CME / CPD providers. Additionally, many companies only provide commercial support for traditional CME, which unfortunately often drives the agenda for many providers (who need commercial support to stay ‘in business’).

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“Pfizer has adopted a new model of support for independent learning and change initiatives that often include CME as a component of the overall project.”

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RA: How can these challenges be overcome?

MDS: A shift in culture and thinking around the role of the CME / CE / CPD provider, as well as the role that industry support can play in helping to close practice gaps and improve care.

RA: Can you describe what Pfizer is doing to be transparent in the area of CME grants?

MDS: Pfizer has adopted a new model of support for independent learning and change initiatives that often include CME as a component of the overall project, but not always. In addition to publishing the names and credentials of our external review panel members, we are also publishing all proposals that are awarded funding and the outcomes that are generated as a result of the initiatives so that the community can learn from the success of others.

RA: What do you think industry support of CME will look like in ten years time?

MDS: My hope is that industry support of learning and change strategies will go toward initiatives that are based on real need – using data specific to the targeted learner audience. I hope it will tackle clinical problems or close practice gaps in a comprehensive fashion, recognizing that knowledge gaps, behavioral gaps, systems gaps and patient competency / behavior gaps all play a role in healthcare problems and, in order to solve problems, all need to be addressed. This is the direction in which Pfizer is headed.

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European-CME-Forum-15-16-November-2012

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About the interviewee:

Maureen Doyle-Scharff, MBA, FACME is Senior Director, Team Lead, of the Medical Education Group at Pfizer Inc. She has worked in the field of medical education in a variety of capacities for over 20 years.

Maureen currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Global Alliance for Medical Education (GAME) and the National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME), is a member of the American Medical Association’s National Task Force on Provider / Industry CME Collaboration, is founder and past president of the Ohio Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, and served for six years on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education (ACME), including serving as Secretary / Treasurer in the final two years.

Maureen received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, and her MBA from St. Joseph University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Higher Education at Ohio University and lives in Columbus, OH with her husband and three children.

What do you think industry support of CME will look like in ten years time?