Our research on how participation in continuing medical education (CME) can result in health care cost savings has been published in the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions and CE Measure and featured on CBS Money Watch, Fierce Healthcare, Medical Marketing and Media, Medical Meetings, Medscape News, Policy and Medicine, The Miami Herald, The Wall Street Journal Online, and numerous other news outlets.
Although more than $2 billion is spent on CME annually in the United States alone, there are few studies of the economic benefits of continuing education activities. The absence of data on the benefits of CME, both economic and societal, is one of the reasons educators find it challenging to demonstrate the value of CME to stakeholders.
Outcomes Impact Analysis Is Part of the Solution
Outcomes Impact Analysis (OIA) provides a universally understood outcome measure—monetary impact. Both rapid and cost effective, OIA is a repeatable tool that uses decision analytic modeling concepts to predict estimated cost savings associated with the outcomes of CME activities. Simply put, OIA highlights cost savings that can occur when clinicians apply learning acquired through participation in continuing medical education.
How Is Outcomes Impact Analysis Used?
OIA is used to provide enhanced outcomes to stakeholders. Supporters use OIA to demonstrate cost savings from an activity. For example, in an HIV education program, estimated costs averted were $10,731,517 when testing-related awareness led to decreased disease transmission. Our research has been successfully used by supporters to justify the need for their CME budgets.
OIA has also been used within activities as a motivator to change behavior. Software is used to model the cost savings based on predicted values from the current published literature. Using the Outcomes Impact Estimator, learners are able to run different clinical scenarios based on their own practice. Each time the model has been used, more than 80% of participants indicated the information presented would impact their practice.