Continuing Medical Education in India
What is Continuing Medical Education?
Continuing medical education (CME) comprises of educational activities that actively sustain/enhance the practitioner skills, knowledge, and performance to improve healthcare and patient outcomes. In addition to enhancing practice competence, CME advances practitioners as educators and researchers.
Why CME is Imperative?
Historically, physicians are endowed with professional autonomy by the society; the belief that physicians are adequately competent on entry into practice and that they will sustain competence as long as they practise is rather dogmatic. Although, it cannot be ruled out that scenario in the past may have conformed to this notion, today’s context makes it obsolete. In the past, physicians would have kept pace with one’s area of medical expertise because medical advancement was not as exponential as it is seen today. Self-assessment and self-learning do not represent viable modes of maintaining competence anymore.
In the present context, medical practice has to be predicated on “active learning”; it is essential for CME recipients to choose more formal methods to maintaining competence. Regular relicensure methods are rather centralized and do not specifically address individual practices; therefore, there is an impending need for innovative strategies. Furthermore, an evidence-based correlation has been drawn between improved patient outcomes and modified physician practice behaviours that are based on well conducted needs assessments.
Picture of CME in India
Dr P.T. Jayawickramarajah, Coordinator at the WHO’s Regional Office for South-East Asia in New Delhi, says that there is need for doctors in India to undergo “good quality CME.”
Based on the imperativeness of CME in maintaining practice competence, the Medical Council of India is actively campaigning for CME to be made compulsory. Furthermore, efforts by regional medical councils in making CME mandatory lend an encouraging picture. The Delhi Medical Council with over 24,000 doctors has made it mandatory for its members to complete 100 hours of CME every five years before they can re-register. Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab have structured guidelines for conducting CME. Some of the practitioners lend an opinion that the current legal impasse can be overcome by more regional medical associations taking the lead, like the Delhi Medical Association. Possibly, this could create a perpetual reaction in the country.
- Geoffrey RN, Michael LM. The need for needs assessment in continuing medical education. BMJ. 2004; 328:999.
- World Health Organization Web site. Continuing medical education in India. Available at: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/82/2/CME0204/en/print.html. Accessed on 10-1-2014.