>>SINGER: Hi, I’m Steve Singer, I’m the Director of Education and Outreach at the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.
>>CARTER: And I’m Melissa Carter, Vice President of Education for the Florida Medical Association.
>>SINGER: Hi Melissa, how are you?
>>CARTER: I’m doing great. How are you Steve?
>>SINGER: I’m good. Thanks for joining us.
>>CARTER: Thank you for having me.
>>SINGER: So, we’re going to talk today about the perspective, the unique perspective you have working at the Florida Medical Association which is a physician membership association and how you as the education person there are finding your role evolving. OK. So, first tell us, give us a little history, tell us about your role at the medical association.
>>CARTER: OK well I’m the Vice President of Education for the Florida Medical Association, I’ve been there for over 15 years. So, I’m starting my 16th year, this year. And so, when I first started I start out more of an education and accreditation coordinator and kind of moved up to director, and then vice-president and the strange thing is I’ve pretty much done a lot of the same types of things. But, what I think has occurred is that I’ve gotten more and more involved with the different vice-presidents, different directors of the different sections of the FMA. So, I can kind of appreciate all of the things the FMA is doing not just in CME and accreditation, but also with healthcare policy, payment advocacy, things of that nature.
>>SINGER: OK. So, I mean in that last bit that you described there is quite an environment now for physicians in sort of in the environment of healthcare reform but also for physician membership organizations.
>>SINGER: It’s not I would guess that it’s sort of a different time and it’s not an easy time to be a physician membership organization.
>>CARTER: That is correct.
>>CARTER: I think that in years past, and I think that this is a generational thing and it’s not just the healthcare profession, but many people just you joined a healthcare organizations because that’s what you did. You know, you joined the Kiwanis or you joined your professional membership organization and now we have to talk more about what is the value proposition. Why do I need to belong to this medical association? What is it going to do for me? And how is it going to support me in my efforts to you know, be a great physician? And so, we have struggled a bit, but I think that we are on firmer ground now we’ve kind of figured out that what we need to do is engage with our members – talk with our members and our non-members – and figure out, what is it that we can do to help them thrive, to help them basically practice their craft, which for us is medicine, taking care of patients.
>>SINGER: Right. So, the ACCME as an accreditor its requirements specify or we sort have a lot of energy in our requirements talking about practice based learning and improvement. It’s sort of like the plan-do-study-act foundation of what we’re about as an accreditation system, as a CME system. But when we say practice based we chose the term professional practice, not clinical practice so that there’s a broader perspective. And that practice includes your practice as a physician leader, as a manager, as a communicator, all those things. So, if we can, sort of using your model of what you’ve described about what is sort of helping to turn the corner and make sort of you and your programs successful and sort of finding this value proposition, let’s explore a few examples sort of either a value proposition which, which something that was brought to your attention or maybe something that came from you but something that you’ve implemented.
>>CARTER: Right. Well, one of the things that we talk with our providers a lot one of the things that the FMA does is that we accredit about 55 organizations mostly hospitals and some state specialty societies but we’re always talking with them about: remember we don’t accredit a person; we don’t accredit a CME committee, we accredit an organization. And so, we really encourage them to
>>SINGER: So, these are the, just to clarify for the audience, you’re, you as a state accreditor accredit hospitals, local hospitals, or health systems or I guess probably small specialties groups as well who provide CME as a function, but what you’re say is that you accredit the whole hospital.
>>CARTER: Right. And so, what we encourage them to do is to find out what is important to the overall organization. What kinds of things is your organization trying to achieve? And then, figure out a way to help support that. And that’s what we are basically doing at the FMA. You know, the FMA’s mission simply put is to help physicians practice medicine. One of the things that we are doing right now working very hard at is trying to engage younger physicians. Physicians who and maybe even physicians who aren’t maybe wouldn’t say younger physicians but physicians who haven’t been a part of the FMA. How can we engage them? How can we support them? How can we kind of bring them into the fold so to speak? And so, what we’ve done is we’ve started, a lot of, you know, different social media, we have done that but we’ve also, started a leadership academy. And the idea being that with the changing dynamics of the healthcare profession physicians are having to sort of learn how to lead differently. Recently I had an opportunity to speak with a physician who’s a chief medical officer at a hospital and one of the things that he said was, well, physicians need to learn how to lead with influence rather than lead with power. And so, one of the things that we’ve done is create a leadership academy where we can really help customize a leadership kind of a approach to help them from whatever environment they come from. So, we might have a class of physicians that are from hospitals, they might be in private practice, they might be employed by a group practice. And so, what we do is we customize a program for these physicians. It’s a ten month program. And we really try to help them, encourage them to be good leaders and go back to the organization where they are and thrive there.
>>SINGER: OK. Now, and that’s CME?
>>CARTER: Hmhuh. And so,
>>SINGER: And so, was it challenging? Because I think as we talk about these things some folks would say well that doesn’t sound like CME. So, tell me about the history of how it
>>CARTER: Right. Well
>>SINGER: it came to be?
>>CARTER: Right and that’s a great question because the way that it started and it didn’t start in the education department or even with us as a CME sort of staff for the Florida State Medical Association it started with our EVP. He decided, you know, we’re going to have a leadership academy, and what we’re going to do is we’re going to focus this leadership academy to physicians who are under 45. We’re going to have classes, it’s going to be small classes and we’re going to really use this as a way as a springboard to encourage more participation in organized medicine and better participation in the FMA as a whole. And so, what we’re going to do is we’re going to customize it, we’re going to work with a local university – they’re going to come in and they’re going to be the faculty – and we’re going to really look at, ok, what do physicians need to help them thrive in their practice setting? So while we don’t necessarily focus on a lot of clinical issues; we’re focusing on building more communication skills, helping physicians learn how to be good leaders.
>>SINGER: Now, something that’s interesting is when you say the that the group that was initially developing what the academy would be and they said, well, what do we need, you know, what do physicians need in order to be able to practice effectively. They were conducting sort of your gap analysis or you know, your needs assessment to see you know, what is it the physicians need to know or to do or to be able to impact in practice successfully. So, it’s still sort of at the core of
>>CARTER: Absolutely. And although we didn’t really talk with them about the gap analysis
>>SINGER: I know I know it’s sort of a benefit
>>CARTER: We try not to do that sometimes, but and so when we, as we heard more and more about what this leadership academy was going to be and who was going to be doing it and basically it’s like a ten month program. So, there are five like live sessions it’s like a one day session where they come and it’s very interactive. And they do a lot of hands-on exercises and small group exercises. You know, it’s homework in between sessions. A lot of, you know, articles that they read. And so as I looked at it more and more I thought you know, this could be approved for CME credit. And while that’s not the primary function it wasn’t to give physicians the opportunity to earn you know, 35 credits in CME. Most physicians can, there’s a lot of opportunities to earn CME. But, what we felt was it would add value and it would elevate you know, in the eyes of physicians. Oh well, you know, I’m going to come and I’m going to do this I’m also going to get CME credit that’s going to help with you know, other things that I need like licensure and so forth. And it has worked really well and our EVP was very pleased. And the people who were in the academy are, you know, for them it’s just again it’s a bonus. They’re doing this really to be, to learn how to be a great leader. Not especially for the CME credit.
>>SINGER: Right. Sort of irrespective of the path to get there, the outcome is still that now at FMA you’ve created as part of your sort of your educational enterprise for your members an opportunity for physicians to participate in improving their, the skills and their ability to perform in practice as part of an educational activity. You know, so that, you know what I’m saying, so that leadership academy is, is part of your CME program; it’s part of that credit that they need, but it’s also it’s participation in CME which helps to address another part of their practice that practice as leader manager.
>>CARTER: Absolutely. And I think that the beauty of it is that as healthcare reform unfolds and as things change a lot of times you know, we as CME providers we kind of keep doing the same thing. You know, we’re going to do this clinical topic or you know, an update on this or refresher on that. And the idea is that we’re, what we’re really trying to do really look at what are, what are all these dynamics? What are all these things that are changing and trying to really focus on new topics, things that you know, we haven’t done in the past like you know, leadership or communications or you know, how payment advocacy, things of that nature that physicians, I think, really appreciate.
>>SINGER: You identified that the leadership academy is directed towards physicians who are either young physicians or young in their practice or maybe you also said folks that had not yet been part of that community
>>CARTER: Right, right.
>>SINGER: as members. Are you also doing outreach or programs for folks who are not yet physicians you know, like students, medical students or residents who are sort of on their way?
>>CARTER: We are Steve, and I think one of the things that we were trying to do is to go ahead and reach out to you know, students and residents and fellows before the might even know that they need us, before they even know that much about CME. And to let them know kind of what we’re about. And so, one of the things that we started, and actually this is definitely been a work in progress. We started about 10 years ago and we had a physician who was on one of councils that I staff – a council on medical education and science – and he said to me, Melissa, we’re going to have a poster symposium at our FMA annual meeting. And I said, That sounds great. And I didn’t really know and for many organizations especially state specialty societies or national specialty societies I think they do that a lot, but for a medical association like the FMA we had never done a poster symposium, I didn’t really know that much about it. So, we kind of thought, OK we’re going to this. And we started out with four posters. This past year, this is about the tenth year, we had over 80. And so, what we do is we send a call out for posters and it’s a, it’s basically an activity we have developed for students, residents and fellows who practice in Florida. We have nine medical schools in Florida. A lot of students, obviously a lot of residents and fellows and what we want to do is offer them an activity that would will that they can get excited about, that something that they are going to be doing anyway. Because one of the things that I think students and residents are encouraged to do is research and you know, follow interesting cases. And so it’s something that they’re encouraged to do anyway. So what we wanted to do was to bring all of that energy and passion and sort of intensity about something different that then normally we would focus more on advocacy or things of that nature which is very exciting you know, also, but what we were trying to do is focus kind of on a different aspect of medicine. And bring them into the FMA so that they could see kind of what we’re all about but also so our physicians that are members could see what they’re all about as well. And so, we have really kind of fostered that sort of that poster symposium and as I’ve said four to 80 this past year we’re currently working on our next poster symposium and we’ve never done it for CME credit because it’s kind of one of those activities where it sort of has an organic nature. You kind of just want people to wander around and look at posters. But, one of the things we’re going to try this year is and this was actually a resident’s idea, was to do an oral competition. And so, we’re going to prescreen the abstracts and we’re going to actually have a CME session where a certain small segment of the poster submitters are going to present their poster in a sort of an academic way, in a didactic way, and we’ll have that approved for a CME session. And so, in a way what we’re trying to do is sort of blend these activities in so basically you know, we’ll have physicians there who definitely need the CME credit; we’ll have students and residents who won’t really need CME credit yet but they’re going to see how we kind of blend these things together and create an activity that’s you know, of value for students, residents but also practicing physicians.
>>SINGER: Sounds great.
>>CARTER: It’s actually it’s really one of the most exciting things that we’re working on right now, just, I think the energy and sort of passion of students and residents is wonderful to see.
>>SINGER: Thanks very much, Melissa.
>>CARTER: Thank you, Steve for having me.
This is a transcript of Engaging Physicians with CME: A New Way to Lead
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