Representatives from the accredited CE community described the value of their educational efforts in supporting patient safety and addressing the opioid addiction crisis at the FDA public advisory committee meeting on the Extended-Release and Long-Acting (ER/LA) Opioid Analgesics REMS, held in May. Accredited CE providers, the Conjoint Committee on Continuing Education (CCCE), and the ACCME described the scope of CE in support of the ER/LA Opioid Analgesics REMS and offered their perspectives on how to maximize the benefit and reach of REMS CE.
Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME, presented data showing that CE providers have delivered 647 ER/LA Opioid Analgesics REMS-compliant activities, educating close to 168,000 healthcare professionals, including physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, and other clinicians. These activities were offered across the country, in a variety of face-to-face and online formats.
The diversity of the activities shows how CE has evolved to meet the changing needs of learners, Dr. McMahon explained. “While traditionally you might think of courses as being a sage on the stage, and Internet activities as narrated PowerPoint slides posted online, many of our courses now use case-based simulations, problem-solving, communities of learning, and other activities that drive quality in education,” he said.
The CE community has the expertise to engage the hearts and minds of the clinician community, Dr. McMahon said. “It’s easy to drive people through box checking behaviors and [have them] complete activities that aren’t meaningful for them for the sake of achieving numbers, but if you really want to change practice you need to create relevant, efficient, effective and meaningful education efforts to connect with clinicians for the long-term. That’s what drives behavior. Our CME community is designed to achieve just that. They know our learners because they are in their institutions, in their localities. They know the challenges they face, whether they are in New Mexico or Manhattan.”
Based on the lessons learned, Dr. McMahon provided suggestions for improving the FDA Blueprint for Prescriber Education for ER/LA Opioid Analgesics to better support educational effectiveness. “Our continuing education providers are at the elbows of their learners. They know their audiences the best and they are most likely to be successful when you give them the permission, flexibility, and liberty to adapt their education and the modular assessments to their learners’ needs. Our learners are incredibly diverse, and their needs are incredibly diverse, and the ways to create relevant meaningful educational engagement are incredibly diverse. I would recommend that we revise the blueprint to focus on high-level direction regarding risks without restraining educational providers’ abilities to meet learners’ needs,” he said.
Dr. McMahon also said that the ACCME fully supports the ongoing use of accredited CE as a delivery mechanism for prescriber training for the ER/LA Opioid Analgesics REMS. In addition, the ACCME believes that accredited CE can play a significant role in addressing the patient safety issues identified in other REMS, including pre-and post-approval REMS, and single product REMS, provided the proper controls are in place to ensure independence from commercial influence. The CE community is working every day to make a difference, he concluded, and supports the FDA’s efforts to improve public safety.