For busy clinicians who need to stay updated on all the latest advances in their field while balancing a full patient load and home life, independent medical education (IME) serves as an essential tool. From providing up-to-the-minute conference coverage to gathering expert opinions and insights, IME offers clinicians the information they need in a format that’s easy to access and quick to digest. With that in mind, here are three major benefits of IME.
1) Maintenance of Certification
One of the main reasons physicians initially source IME is as a method to fulfill maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements. Many IME providers offer activities that provide continuing medical education (CME) credits, allowing physicians to quickly and easily earn any CME credits necessary to maintain their license while also receiving the most up-to-date and useful information.
2) Practice Updates
While many physicians initially come to IME seeking to earn CME credits, they frequently become repeat visitors, seeking out new education and participating in activities that do not provide educational credit. One of the main reasons for this is that IME is one of the best sources for updated information on current and emerging practice. Given the sheer volume of new data and information released each week, it is impossible for physicians to remain abreast of the most recent changes in their field without help. IME filters through the abundance of data released each day, week, month, and year to highlight the most important updates that will impact clinical practice. Physicians who regularly participate in IME activities feel more confident in their patient care and are more likely to be aware of best practices within their field.
3) Expert Opinion
Even if a physician were able to keep up with all of the data released each week, there is no guarantee they would be able to interpret this new information and appropriately apply it to clinical practice. A unique benefit of IME is that it provides physicians access to opinions and guidance from key thought leaders from around the world. When new, potentially practice-changing data are released, physicians can turn to IME activities that feature expert discussion, interactive question-and-answer sessions, and written guidance from the leaders in a field. These activities provide guidance on how to interpret new data, how the data may impact practice, and how best to incorporate the new information into patient care.
According to a recent survey of oncologists and hematologists worldwide conducted by prIME Oncology, CME courses are one of the top three ways physicians obtain the information they need for optimal patient care, outranked only by clinical practice guidelines and peer-reviewed journal articles. Furthermore, medical education websites are the most commonly accessed source for specific information on medical topics—more than society websites, clinical practice guidelines, and medical journals. Without a doubt, IME is an invaluable resource for keeping physicians updated on the latest standards in patient care.