Communicating the Value of CME/CPD Effectively Within Your Institution

By Kurt Snyder, JD, MBA IT

CME/CPD professionals continually face the challenge of effectively communicating our value within our institutions. Despite the critical role of continuing medical education/continuing professional development in improving patient care and population health, many leaders and clinicians still view it primarily as a mandatory credit requirement. Consequently, it is crucial for us to collectively explore strategies to convey our story, dispel misconceptions, advocate for our significance, and strive for representation in decision-making processes so that we are driving the mission of our respective organizations.

It is important to acknowledge that there are individuals in positions of authority and clinicians who recognize the importance of lifelong learning. We are, of course, grateful to these individuals. Identify them and make them your champions! However, there is still much work to be done in fostering a broader understanding and appreciation for the value of CME.

I recently reached out to SACME’s listserv for input on the “Value of CME,” and I appreciate the contributions made. This article/listing aims to initiate, rather than conclude, the conversation on this subject. Based on the feedback received, it is evident that context and approach play vital roles in advocating for CME/CPD. Before communicating the value of CME to others, it is essential to assess the audience and consider what resonates with them. Different individuals may have varying levels of understanding, appreciation, and concerns regarding CME. For example, the motivations of a Chief Financial Officer may differ from those of a Chief Medical Officer when discussing the value of CME.

When utilizing the list of points below, it is advisable to prioritize the most impactful ones for your particular purpose and tailor the message accordingly. Considering time constraints, it may not be feasible to cover all the points comprehensively, and attempting to do so could lead to diminishing returns. I envision the list as a toolbox from which a person can select one or more values based on the specific “project” or situation at hand. Use the ones that work for you!

Lastly, in the table below, I have categorized the “values” for convenience, although these choices are open to debate and I fully appreciate that others could categorize these differently. Moreover, it is worth noting that several items can fit into multiple categories. I have attempted to minimize listing things more than once to keep the list concise.

Values of CME/CPD by Category

Category 1:  Patient Care and Population Health

Patient Perspective

  • Better Outcome
  • Improved Quality of Life
  • Reduced Pain

Clinician Perspective

  • Core Motivation to Practice Medicine
  • Career Satisfaction

Institution Perspective

  • Mission Fulfillment
  • Positive Patient Experiences

Category 2:  Culture

Clinician Perspective

  • Enhanced Sense of Value
  • Cultivates a Culture of Collaboration
  • Promotes a Culture of Lifelong Learning
  • Reduces Burnout

Institution Perspective

  • Attracts and Retains Employees
  • Reinforces Shared Pride and Institutional Priorities
  • Provides a Forum for Problem-Solving
  • Reduces Burnout

Category 3:  Education

Clinician Perspective

  • Provides an Educational Framework
  • Creates a Safe Learning Environment
  • Facilitates Lifelong Learning

Institution Perspective

  • Develops a Pipeline of Skilled Employees
  • Standardizes Processes/ Procedures
  • Catalyst for QI Efforts
  • Offers Low-Cost In-House Employee Training

Category 4:  Reputation Builder

Clinician Perspective

  • Enables Scholarship
  • Provides Opportunities for Recognition, especially for Junior Faculty

Institution Perspective

  • Extends Institution’s Brand
  • Impacts Reputational Awareness, including U.S. News and World Report Rankings
  • Increases Referrals

Category 5:  Connection Facilitator

Clinician Perspective

  • Facilitates Networking
  • Supports Mentoring
  • Enhances Collaboration

Institution Perspective

  • Facilitates Networking
  • Fosters Community Connections

Category 6:  Financial

Clinician Perspective

  • Honoraria
  • Project/Department Revenue
  • Referrals

Institution Perspective

  • Direct and Indirect Revenue
  • Project/Department Revenue
  • Value-Based Payments
  • Referrals

Category 7:  Compliance/Regulations

Clinician Perspective

  • Provides Required CME for Licensure, Board Certification, Insurance, and Employment
  • Reduces Risk/Liability

Institution Perspective

  • Provides Required CE
  • Reduces Risk/Liability

Once again, allow me to express my gratitude to all the SACME members who posted their valuable insights and comments on the listserv.  Please feel free to reach out to me with additional ideas.

Kurt Snyder, JD, MBA IT, is Executive Director, Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA. Contact:


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