Multi-disciplinary training is thought to be important to quality improvement in the medical setting, according to a 2003 report from the U.S. Institute of Medicine, Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality. As a result, some meeting planners have been trying to design programs with multi-specialty teams in mind, but they have faced barriers to increased meeting enrollment.
Last September,Creighton University, a Jesuit college located in Omaha, Nebraska, became one of only four institutions that are jointly accredited. “Our programs have always been multidisciplinary but for each one we had to go to a different certification provider to get credit. With this joint accreditation we have only one application,” said Dr. Sally O’Neill, PhD, associate vice president for health sciences continuing education at Creighton. Now, the college is hoping to make 95% of the conferences multidisciplinary in nature.
The 100-year-old college puts on about 99 different activities a year, including courses, one or two-day conferences, distinguished lectures, online activities, and the regularly scheduled departmental series, O’Neill explained.
Most programs take place in Omaha, such as a program on pulmonary care taking place at the end of March, for which the planning committee is made up of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and emergency medical service providers, she added.
Another organization looking to put on more multi-specialty CME is the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, according to Joyce Paschall, director of education and meetings.
“While our membership is almost all physicians, there are also nurses, industrial hygienist, safety people, and additional disciplines who are involved,” said Paschall, who noted that one track is devoted to multi-disciplinary training at the organization’s annual meeting this April in Los Angeles. Attendance is usually around 1,000, with 20 to 50 non-physicians attending, she said.
“We bring other allied health professions into our planning conversations. Our committee members may say, ‘I know some industrial hygienists at my company. Let me talk to that person about bringing some of them in,’” she said.
For this year’s upcoming multidisciplinary track, the organization did not pursue nursing credit, as that seemed a bit laborious, Paschall said. “Instead, we had a co-relationship with the physician training arm for UCLA, which is where the annual meeting is taking place, and has the ability to provide that credit, Paschall explained.
For those meeting planners who present medical education conferences, multidisciplinary CME might be a powerful trend for the future. While putting on multidisciplinary events takes unique certification, marketing and planning, joint accreditation might reduce some of the burden.